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ERIC Number: EJ818862
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 28
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-1059-308X
Family-School Relations as Social Capital: Chinese Parents in the United States
Wang, Dan
School Community Journal, v18 n2 p119-146 Fall-Win 2008
Guided by both Coleman and Bourdieu's theories on social capital, I interviewed Chinese immigrant parents to understand their experiences in weaving social connections with the school and teachers to benefit their children's education. This study confirms Coleman's argument that human capital in parents will not transfer to the children automatically. The intergenerational transmission process is interrupted because the parents, although well educated, are not familiar with norms and practices in the new education system. In sharp contrast to parents in China, who aggressively seek and create opportunities to connect with teachers, immigrant Chinese parents adopt a passive role in initiating contacts with school and teachers. Factors contributing to the lower parental commitment to networking include time, jobs, language, and cultural barriers. However, the deeper reason lies in the change of people's mindsets when they experience a dramatic shift in the surrounding social structures. The informant parents view American schools as egalitarian and competition free and, therefore, attribute to parent-teacher relationships less instrumental value in their children's success than they would in China. American education professionals would be surprised by these parents' naivety and idealization of American schools. Nonetheless, it would be simplistic to conclude that the lack of parental involvement is due to external restrictions or immigrant parents' misunderstanding of the current U.S. society.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China