Tse, S.K., Pang, E.Y.W., Chow, K.W., Ki, W.W., Lam, W.I. (2021). What Empowers Ethnic Minority Parents to Change towards Supporting Their Children's Learning of Chinese in a Hong Kong Home-School-Community Project. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 9(5), 149-167. DOI: 10.4236/jss.2021.95012.
What Empowers Ethnic Minority Parents to Change towards Supporting Their Children’s Learning of Chinese in a Hong Kong Home-School-Community Project?
Open Journal of Social Sciences
Shek Kam TSE, Emily Yuen Wah PANG, King Wo CHOW, Wing Wah KI, Wai Ip LAM
Recent literature has emphasized the importance of parental involvement of immigrant families in supporting their children’s education and learning advancement. Support from parents spiritually and in terms of familial resources is important in helping their children to overcome cultural differences and learning demands. However, few studies systematically explore how the parents can be empowered in the first place to provide such support. This paper attempts to fill this research gap with findings from Hong Kong, a place where such empowerment to migrants and ethnic minority parents has been badly needed. The learning of Chinese is a great challenge for these parents and their children for life, career and education. Yet, these parents often feel little hope that they can support their children in going over the language hurdle. Chinese scripts are non-phonetic, and Chinese speech is tonal. Few of the parents are themselves literate in Chinese. In view of this, parental empowerment has been taken as one focus in a five-year collaborative project “C-for-Chinese@JC” based on a home-school-community model. In-depth interviews were conducted with twenty ethnic minority parents upon open invitation in 2020. Six types of emergent parent changes were identified through their participation in program activities. Based on an analysis of the critical incidents associated with the changes, two critical aspects were identified in the parental empowerment process, which include: 1) Parents’ seeing their children making improvements in their Chinese learning; 2) Parents’ seeing themselves being able to play a part in the activities related to the learning and expanding their own community social networks. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research on parental empowerment and change, including the need of synergetic inputs from NGOs, schools and universities under the home-school-community (h-s-c) model.