Cultural Differences Encountered by a Novice Chinese Immersion Teacher in an American Kindergarten Immersion Classroom

Document Type: Research Paper

Author

early childhood education, associate professor, National Pingtung univeristy, Taiwan, R. O.C.

Abstract

The research objective of this study was to explore the cultural differences and challenges encountered by the Chinese Immersion Teacher (CIT) and how the CIT deal with the cultural differences in the immersion classroom. A qualitative case study approach was chosen for this research. The participant was a novice kindergarten immersion teacher who was born and educated in a Chinese-speaking country. There were 13 children with diverse ethnic backgrounds in the teacher’s classroom. Interviews and observations were the primary sources of data. The data collection and analysis stages were undertaken concurrently. The researcher used thematic analysis to analyze the data. The findings of this study show that a novice CIT typically faces several challenges owing to the differences between Chinese culture and American culture, including the differences in the expectations regarding learning, teacher status, teacher authority, teaching methods, and learning styles. Moreover, the study found that the CIT struggled with these differences and did not know how to do her job without considerable support and training. The research led to suggestions to improve cultural awareness, management of cultural differences, and CIT training.

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