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What Contributes to Asian Model Minority Academic Success? An Ecological Perspective
New Waves Journal (2007)
  • Gulbahar Beckett, University of Cincinnati
Asians in America are perceived to be model minorities and Asian American students are believed to be exceptional educational achievers. Some believe this is a model minority phenomenon that needs to be demystified as it is a stereotype detrimental to Asian American students social and psychological well-being. Some attribute Asian-American student academic achievement to factors such as parents' and students' attitudes and actions toward schoolwork, economic and ethnic status, human and social capital, family structure, community organization, and cultural and linguistic patterns. Others attribute it to factors such as self-perception, school expectations and organization, students cultural and background knowledge, and family socialization. While these are all important findings, none of the single studies capture the complexity of the issue under discussion. This paper reports and discusses findings of an ethnographic study conducted in Vancouver, Canada. The participants in this study were five secondary-school immigrant students from Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong. Analysis of data collected through interviews and observations suggests that the participants who shared the same ethnicity, culture, >and first and second languages, were experiencing varying academic success at the time of data collection. But, the contributors to their success seemed to be different. In fact, findings of the study suggest that the same situation impacted different students differently. I argue that Asian academic success is a complex phenomenon that should be attributed to multiple factors and examined from an ecological perspective that can account for the complexity of the relevant issues. I discuss some social and pedagogical policy implications of the findings to the education of other American minority students. I conclude the paper with suggestions for further research and future practice.
Publication Date
Publisher Statement
Copyright 2007 the Chinese American Educational Research & Development Association
Citation Information
Gulbahar Beckett. "What Contributes to Asian Model Minority Academic Success? An Ecological Perspective" New Waves Journal Vol. 11 Iss. 3 (2007) p. 7 - 10
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