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Childrenwho speak a language other than English face many challenges.

They may haveaccess to limited resources and they may fall behind their peers in academicachievement. Furthermore, these children may not be receiving the educationalservices that are appropriate for their learning needs. Language minoritychildren face significant challenges both in school and in life. The culturebarrier creates another challenge for those kids. What might be considered anappropriate or respectful behavior in one culture may not be the same foranother culture. For example Chinese children become easily embarrassed whenpraised. Their reaction to praise may be confusing to some teachers andtherapists who are trying to use praise as a positive reward.

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The one childpolicy in the Mainland China has raised many concerns about the harmful effectsof too much attention and pampering. A study has indicated that Chinesechildren without siblings are more egocentric and are less cooperative and lesspersistent than those with siblings. This creates some issues for thesechildren in classrooms where they are asked to share and work in groups withpeers and may result in some undesired or disrupting behaviors. Thestructure of the family also has a great impact on the education of Chinesestudents. There’s a huge emphasis upon education and the families are stronglyinvolved in their children’s education. This often creates an added pressure ofbeing successful at all times, and not allowing themselves to fail.

This pressureincreases as these families come to America, because now their children arefaced with learning a new language and a new culture, nevertheless they arestill are expected to rise up to the challenge. Anotherpart of the behaviors you may see within this population is due the Chinesesystem being highly selective and the students are always under the pressure ofkeen academic competition because of the high level of sociocultural value ofeducation. As a result, the students may have faced many academic stressors,homework, exams, limited free time and strict school discipline.  Theteaching and discipline methods between the US and China differ immensely.

SomeChinese practices in discipline are public correction not just for misbehaviorbut also for poor performance. The discipline method used in the U.S depends onpositive reinforcement, which is believed to result in higher self-esteem andencourages students to work harder to avoid future mistakes. InChina, the learning context is perceived to be authoritarian. The size of theclasses is usually big and is usually teacher centered. That’s why thesestudents struggle when they come to the States with concepts like independence,self-efficacy and the notion of equality between the teacher and the students. Manyresearches have noticed that many European American adolescent problematicbehavior is shown by externalizing behaviors such as physical aggression,defiance and antisocial acts in comparsion to their Asian peers, Chinese tend tointernalize their distress, raising flags about many anxiety issues andpsychosomatic disorders. That explains in a way the shyness and submissivenessand the obedience of some students within this culture.

Shyness is notconsidered in the Chinese culture as maladaptive, it is considered being politeand is positively valued and encouraged especially for girls. As a result,Chinese parents may rarely be able to recognize any behavioral or emotionalproblems that their kids might be facing due to the general lack of awarenessof mental health problems. 

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