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An exploration of issues for effective home-school communication strategies with Asian immigrant parents

The far-reaching effects of 21st century globalisation have meant that schools are facing an increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse parent community, a situation which presents educators with both opportunities and challenges. While international academic literature has recently begun to focus on the issues and challenges of cross-cultural communication with Asian immigrant parents in Western societies, New Zealand-based educational research has focused on independent international fee-paying students, as opposed to New Zealand-domiciled students and their parents. Post-modern influences, with the resultant emphasis on contextualisation of education, combined with increasing cultural and linguistic diversity in the parent community, has underscored the need for effective home-school communication practices. This small-scale, exploratory, qualitative research project documents the personal home-school communication experiences of Asian immigrant parents. The study uses empirical data collected from semi-structured individual and group interviews with seven parents from Korea, Hong-Kong and Mainland China, who reside in Tauranga, a growing provincial city located in the Bay of Plenty region, New Zealand. By focusing on the implementation of the revised New Zealand Curriculum and the inaugural changes to the National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 1 qualification in 2011, this research examines the extent of parental understanding and the effectiveness of current home-school communication practices. The findings reveal that current home-school communication processes and practices are largely ineffective with this parent group, and highlight the disparity between high parental expectations and the rudimentary knowledge that they hold. A thematic analysis corroborates empirical data with academic rationale, and highlights an extensive language barrier, unrecognised cultural aspects of communication, inaccurate knowledge from alternative sources of information, and potentially conflicting worldviews of education. A strategic leadership vision, along with a multifaceted commitment to action, is required to adopt approaches to home-school communication which facilitate effective communication, as well as the inclusion and integration of Asian immigrant parents as legitimate and recognised members of the school community. This study recommends the provision of multi-lingual resources for parents, ethnic-specific parent meetings, a formal liaison and advocacy role, and the development of ethnic community links to enhance home-school communication practices. The discussion concludes with an epilogue, which outlines an ethnic-specific Korean parent meeting and demonstrates the practical application of recommendations contained within the study.
Type of thesis
Gilby, K. L. D. (2012). An exploration of issues for effective home-school communication strategies with Asian immigrant parents (Thesis, Master of Educational Leadership (MEdLeadership)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/6470
University of Waikato
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