Generation 1.5 Asian Americans' transition to college : challenges and successes in academic literacy development

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2011-05
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Park, Soo Won
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2011]
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This exploratory case study with quantitative and qualitative data aimed to more fully understand the experiences, challenges, and successes of Generation 1.5 Asian American students in Hawaii's public high schools and colleges. Data analysis was conducted through three main theoretical lenses: 1) writing as a mode of learning, 2) social justice education, and 3) language socialization theories of English language learners. Social justice education includes principles of equity, activism, and social literacy (Ayers, Quinn, and Stovall, 2009). In the realm of composition, teaching for social justice, ideally, would mean teaching students that writing can be a tool to overcome injustices to empower themselves. However, Generation 1.5 students are "shut out" from socially and academically interacting with higher achieving native English speakers (Frodesen, 2009; Murie & Fitzpatrick, 2009). Even in colleges, Generation 1.5 language socialization issues in composition studies have been largely ignored (Matsuda & Matsuda, 2009). This is a problem since in order to gain academic literacy, students need formal and informal interaction (Gee, 1987) and exposure to models in natural, meaningful settings in indirect and direct teaching-learning situations (Van Schalkwyk, Bitzer, & Van der Walt, 2009). Surveys of 261 public high school graduates taking first year composition courses at two community colleges and one four-year university were used to identify 30 Generation 1.5 Asian American students for potential interviews. Nine students and eight faculty members from the three campuses were interviewed for this study. Findings indicated a lack of access to rigorous college preparatory courses for Generation 1.5 students that make their transition to college and their academic literacy development a challenge. The study showed that more writing to learn, in addition to learning to write, and increased integration of the writing process in high schools are needed to help Generation 1.5 students better transition to college. In colleges, instruction and expectations at community and four year colleges were varied, and instructors sometimes had limited awareness of Generation 1.5 academic literacy development. More articulation between colleges and high schools is recommended to better serve the needs of Generation 1.5 Asian American students in Hawaii's public schools.
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Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
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Asian American students
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Education.
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