College of Education Theses and Dissertations

Author

Shu-Chun Yu

Date of Award

11-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

College of Education, Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Mindes, Gayle

Second Advisor

Monkman, Karen

Third Advisor

Goulah, Jason

Abstract

Language plays an important role in linking with the past, with national origins; it is an indispensable tool for communication. With the trend toward globalization and the continual change of the ethnic composition of the U.S. population, there is increasing awareness in the U.S. that not every child is raised in an English-only family. The purpose of this research was to explore the relationships among heritage language proficiency, ethnic identity, and self-esteem in the American-born Chinese (ABC) children who went to the Chinese language schools for Chinese language learning on weekends. There were three research questions to be answered in this study: (1) What is the relationship between Chinese heritage language proficiency and ethnic identity, (2) Is there any connection between heritage language proficiency and self-esteem, and (3) How does ethnic identity associate with self-esteem? A total of 63 students and their 56 parents were surveyed with the Children’s Self-Perception of Chinese Language Learning Survey and the Parents’ Demographic Questionnaire, respectively. Results showed that there were positive relationships between Chinese heritage language proficiency and ethnic identity, language proficiency and self-esteem, and ethnic identity and self-esteem. There was a significant group difference on the ethnic identity by Chinese language proficiency across the two subgroups: at least one parent from Taiwan and at least one parent from Mandarin-speaking countries other than Taiwan. However, no group difference was found on the self-esteem by Chinese language proficiency. Limitations and implications were discussed.

Keywords: heritage language proficiency, ethnic identity, and self-esteem.

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