Author: Leung, Lai-mei
Title: Improving migrant children's self-esteem through a language enhancement programme
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2009
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations.
Immigrant children -- China -- Hong Kong -- Language.
English language -- Study and teaching -- China -- Hong Kong.
Self-esteem in children -- China -- Hong Kong.
Department: Department of English
Pages: 490 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
Abstract: A global concern about migrant children is that migration creates a certain kind of psychological distress which adversely affects these young people's self-esteem. In Hong Kong, the intake of new arrivals from Mainland China has increased to 150 per day (i.e. over 54,000 per year) since 1995. Local studies suggest that the major psychological problem encountered by these newly arrived children and adolescents is that they often possess low self-esteem. The researchers involved generally attribute the sense of inferiority of these young arrivals to poor socio-economic backgrounds, adverse living conditions, inadequate family and peer support, communication problems, being placed in a lower class at school, difficulties with English, lack of familiarity with social facilities, and discrimination or rejection by local people. Whilst they see an urgent need to address these children's self-esteem problems, few recommendations have been made on how to do so in the school context. Since a lack of English is a core problem for the Chinese young arrivals, the present research aimed to use an English Enhancement Programme (EEP) to help address the issue. This study followed a qualitative and naturalistic case study design which enabled the researcher to explore whether a school EEP could have any positive impact on migrant students' self-esteem, and in particular, which elements in the programme could have a positive influence on it. Thirteen Secondary 1 migrant students in a Hong Kong secondary school and two tutors were interviewed regularly by the researcher. Also, both teacher and student informants were asked to record their progress and/or their feelings about the course in their diaries and teaching journals respectively after each lesson. The interview and diary data were then transcribed, coded and categorized. Additionally, three external examiners were asked to comment on students' performance in two street interviews held at the early stage and again at the final stage of the programme in order to find out whether in their view the student participants demonstrated any changes in their self-esteem during the intervention. Three cases were reported in detail to illustrate the impact of the EEP on the subjects' self-esteem and their confidence in using English at different stages of the course. The findings are that the EEP implemented in the present study appears to have made a considerable impact on the participants under optimal circumstances. A majority of them showed a noticeable improvement in their self-esteem and confidence in speaking English. Also, the three case studies seem to indicate that although many of the participants had similar backgrounds (i.e. low socio-economic status, English learning problems and adjustment difficulties), the impact of the EEP on their self-esteem could vary quite considerably one from another. Two cases display an observable progress in the subjects' Global Self-Esteem, Specific Self-Esteem and Task Self-Esteem after attending the EEP, whilst the subject in the third case does not show any noticeable change in his Global Self-Esteem apart from reporting a more positive perception of his English competence. In spite of these individual differences, both the case studies and the general findings postulate that outings, encouragement from tutors, peer support and games in the EEP have a positive impact on migrant students' self-esteem. The study extends the research on the self-esteem problems faced by the migrant children and adolescents in Hong Kong. It introduces possible ways to enhance migrant students' self-esteem through an English learning programme in the school context and makes recommendations to teachers and curriculum planners in designing language programmes for migrant students.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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