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Frameworks of education: Perspectives of Asian parents and Head Start staff

Although the Asian population is the fastest growing minority, little information is available to help practitioners interact effectively with parents and families. In addition, when Asian children have difficulty learning, it is challenging for professionals to determine whether the learning problem is due to second language learning or a learning disorder. This study involved qualitative methodology with triangulation of three participant groups: Asian families, Head Start staff and Asian children. Using ethnographic interviewing techniques, Asian families and Head Start staff described their frameworks regarding education, parenting, child learning and disability. Asian children's communication skills were observed and their language learning skills and strategies were evaluated. Fast-mapping tasks for learning invented words, an invented prefix/rule and dynamic assessment of invented word learning was used to evaluate language learning. The Asian families' frameworks about education, parenting, discipline, disability, and interpersonal communication were related to vertical collective cultural traits. Asian families promoted horizontal collective characteristics in the socialization of their children in learning and interacting with peers. Head Start staff's frameworks about education, parenting, discipline, disability and interpersonal communication were more individualistic than collective. They promoted horizontal individualistic traits in the socialization of the children in learning and interacting with peers. Asian child learning results indicated significant relationships between performance on language learning tasks and observations of children's language understanding and use in naturalistic contexts. Cultural differences affected child performance in unexpected ways. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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