Sojourner families' perceptions of bilingual/bicultural development in school -age children: An exploration of the experiences of Korean graduate student families while residing in the United States
The purpose of this study was to investigate the past experiences and present adjustments of four Korean families with at least one graduate student parent, focusing on issues of children's language learning, maintenance, and loss. These families resided in the US temporarily for extended periods (three to seven years) and encountered a complex set of issues with regard to children's language and culture development, children's identity development, and relationships within the family as parents dealt with balancing bilingualism and biculturalism. These academic families were characterized by relatively high educational and economic status, which affected the goals set for their children's education and development. Besides promoting English acquisition, these parents were concerned about maintaining their children's Korean, especially in the case of those who intended to return to their home country. A school-aged child and his/her mother from each family were invited to participate in the study. Data included parent interviews, child interviews, and child observations. Content analysis was employed to find emerging patterns, which were later categorized as themes. Four emerging themes were: (1) high academic expectations and the tendency to value literacy over communication; (2) the strained relationships between parents and children; (3) the reliance on the eldest child in bridging communication between parents and younger siblings; and (4) the dilemma of continued residency. Findings suggest that if parents, teachers, or society expects children to maintain Korean as well as to acquire English, linguistic features of language, cultural components, and identity establishment should be integrated for the bilingual children.
0282: Multicultural education
0279: Language arts
0524: Elementary education