Korean American students seem to excel in academics as soon as they enter formal schooling. How are Korean American parents preparing their children for kindergarten? This qualitative research case study's foundational theory is based on Sue and Okazaki's (1990) concept of relative functionalism, which proposes that "cultural practices ... maximize skills in gaining education" (p. 913). Five Korean American parents (one father, four mothers) were interviewed and discussed topics that could help answer the study's research questions: (a) how do Korean American parents perceive what school readiness means? and (b) how do Korean Americans decide what activities to engage their children in when preparing them for kindergarten?
As there exists no published research that documents the activities Korean American parents engage their children in with intentions of preparing them for formal schooling, literature in this study focused on the history of Korean American culture's valuation of education, relevant circumstances of Koreans living in the U.S., their childrearing priorities, and the effects of acculturation on Korean American educational values.
Themed findings include overall parental expectations of their children's academic goals, the perceived definition of school readiness, primary caregivers, and priorities for children's competencies. The fact that the Korean American culture is grounded in the philosophy of Confucianism, which includes the expectation that children should uphold family honor and the belief that success is achieved through effort, may help to explain why this study's participants placed high importance on their children's social–emotional competencies and on behaving "well."
As the primary caretaker in the family, Korean American mothers base their decisions regarding their children's activities on feedback received from friends from church, as well as from the broader local Korean community. Significant findings include that participants reported starting their children in academic training when they were as young as two years old, and that children are being raised as bilinguals in dualistic cultures. If shared with educational practitioners, this research could help to better support the home–school relationship with Korean American parents. Parents of non-Korean American students may also use Korean American educational practices to better support their own children to become more school ready prior to entering kindergarten, as well as throughout their educational careers.
|School:||California State University, Fullerton|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Multicultural Education, Education, Early childhood education|
|Keywords:||Asian American, Culture and Achievement, Korean American, Preparing for Formal Schooling, Preparing for Kindergarten, School-Readiness|
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