Beliefs about bilingualism, family literacy practices and identity: Family language policies of Korean immigrant parents in Australia

Year: 2019

Author: Park, Eun

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This study draws on family language policy (FLP) research to explore the relationships between immigrant parents’ beliefs about bilingualism, family literacy practices and their children’s identity development in Sydney, Australia. In the study, I examine how parents’ ideological beliefs, knowledge and experiences are related to their provision of family literacy practices and management of environment for their bilingual children. This is a follow-up study to my Master’s thesis that presented Korean immigrant mothers’ beliefs and decision making with regards to supporting their children’s bilingualism. This project is to include fathers’ perspectives within the participating families as a whole by comparing and contrasting perceptions of identity development alongside bilingualism. It adopts a qualitative approach, exploring the attitudes, beliefs and practices of twelve immigrant mothers and fathers living in a Korean-Australian community whose child/children attends one of the community Korean language programs. It includes auto-ethnographic data, by adapting introspective and self-evocative research method (Ellis, 2004) and taking my own reflexivity into consideration. As the initial data set was collected from the first part of this study, I built on the data including a family literacy log and focus group interviews with mothers. Additionally, new data is to be collected over a three month period: 1) a focus group interview with mothers; 2) a brief self-report of fathers; 3) my researcher’s reflective diary. To analyse these multiple data sources, a thematic analysis and coding will be used to reveal the ideologies surrounding bilingualism and the bilingual identities of the participating Korean immigrant parents. It will highlight the complexity of language and literacy practices in the family domain interrelated with sociocultural factors. This project makes an original and significant contribution to the field of FLP and a major methodological contribution by introducing auto-ethnographic input of this community’s lived experiences and practices. It will enable educators and policy makers to access authentic information about how bilingualism is practised within Korean-Australian immigrant families in multiple ways and to help inform the creation of culturally appropriate partnership between home and school-community.