Getting a lot further: Some factors influencing decisions which ethnic families make about children's schooling and post-school futures


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Content type
Research report

December 1987

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In 1986 the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Multicultural and Migrant Education (MACMME) commissioned the Australian Institute of Family Studies to conduct a study of migrant youth transition from school to after school, with an emphasis on the role of family decision making. Specifically, the study aimed to gather information on the following: home environment, home influence and home/school interaction factors: aspirations and educational values of parents and children; parents' and students' attitudes towards school, particularly how school was seen as affecting opportunities for particular groups; the nature of school and family interaction and contact; knowledge and information about schools, further education and career options which was available to families either through the school or other sources. Approximately 220 people (128 parents, 52 students, 21 ex-students and 23 other individuals) participated in group or individual discussions. As well as English-speaking background parents and young people, there were four non-English-speaking background (NESB) groups - Vietnamese, Greek, Chinese, and Turkish. The discussions indicated that while most parents had high aspirations for their children's future and placed a great deal of hope in education as a way of achieving success, they were concerned that schools were not always organised to help their children 'go further'.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
    • The Context
    • Family Decision Making: A Framework
  • 1.The Study 
    • Aims
    • Method
    • The Discussion Groups
      • NESB groups
      • Parents, students and  ex-students
      • English Speaking Background Groups
    • Using a Discussion Group Approach
      • Some cautions
      • The discussion framework
      • Organising the groups
    • Discussions With Individuals
    • Organisation ofthe Report
  • 2. Vietnamese Families
    • The Participants
    • Aspirations and Values Concerning Education
    • Gender
    • When Expectations Break Down
    • Setting Realistic Goals
    • A 'Very Different System'
      • Schooling  in Vietnam
    • Coping With the Differences
      • Discipline
      • Private and  public schools
    • Home and School Interaction
      • Understanding
      • Parent participation
      • Student reports
    • Restricted Options?
    • Availability of Information
    • Making Decisions
    • Summary
  • 3. Greek Families
    • The Participants
    • Aspirations and Values Concerning Education
    • Gender
    • Sorting Out What is Possible
    • Parents' Influence
    • Home and School Interaction
      • The world outside the home                                     
      • Discipline                                                                     
      • Homework                                                                    
      • Individualism                                            
      • School  Understanding of Greek  Families              
    • Preparation for the Future                                       
    • Sources of Information                                          
      • The school                                                                 
      • Friends and  relatives                                     
      • Family resources                                             
    • Range of Occupations                                            
    • Summary                                                              
  • 4. Chinese Famllies                                               
    • The Participants                                                
    • Aspirations and  Values Concerning Education        
    • Gender                                                                             
    • 'But  the children's ability is the key element'       
    • The Importance of English  Language Skills              
    • Schools  and  Preparation for the Future                 
      • Discipline                                                                
      • Homework                                                               
      • Peer group  pressure                                     
      • Understanding Chinese family needs                     
    • Making Decisions                                                   
    • Summary                                                               
  • 5. Turkish Famllies                                                     
    • The Participants                                                    
    • Aspirations and  Values Concerning Education         
    • Gender                                                                             
    • They  could go a lot further if they got support from  the school'
      • Lack of discipline                                            
      • The curriculum                                
      • Lack of encouragement                 
      • Lack of understanding                   
      • Discrimination                  
    • Sources of Information                    
      • The school: There is a long space between  home and school
      • Friends and  acquaintances                           
    • Making Decisions                                              
      • 'We are the only people who can  tell'                    
      • Choice of occupations                                       
    • Summary                                                           
  • 6. English-Speaking Background Famllies                   
    • The Participants                                                    
    • Aspirations and Values  Concerning Education         
    • Gender                                                                                 
    • School and Preparation for the  Future                      
      • Currtculum                                                      
      • Achievement orientation                                        
      • Career assistance                                                
    • Sources of Information                                                
    • Summary                                                                  
  • 7. Summary                                                       
    • Introduction                                                              
    • Overview                                                                              
    • Aspirations and Values: Parents                             
    • Aspirations and Values: Young  People                            
    • Aspirations for Daughters                                   
    • Attitudes Towards Schools                                        
    • Home/school Interaction                                           
    • Information About  Schools and Occupations            
    • Decision Making                                                  
  • 8.Issuesand Implications                             
    • Introduction                                          
    • The  Role of Schools                                       
    • Home Influences:                                         
      • Parental aspirations                              
      • Education of daughters            
      • Values concerning education      
    • Home/school Interaction                 
      • Parent support             
      • Homework   
      • Assessment and reporting 
      • The  compulsory and post-compulsory years 
    • The  Need for Information
    • Sources of Information                      
    • Conclusion               
  • References