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The Importance of Chinese Immersion School

When it comes to language learning, I believe that many language experts will mention “immersion” learning. People always stress the important role of immersion learning in the process of foreign language acquisition. This learning method is also applicable to overseas Chinese so that their descendants can learn Chinese. Today we will talk about the importance of the Chinese immersion school. What can such a school bring to children?

It is believed that most overseas Chinese will encounter the challenge of cultural shock and cultural identity in the process of adapting to local culture as their children grow.  As a result, many parents and children become increasingly confused in communication, and family conflicts are easy to occur. Both parents and children will add a lot of psychological burdens. In this context, the existence of a Chinese immersion school is very important.

Chinese children do the activity
Chinese children do the activity

First of all, we will analyze the cultural characteristics of Chinese children.

1. Facing the Challenge of Cultural Identity

1.1 Differences Between Family Education and School Environment

Immigrant parents mainly educate their children with Chinese values. Children are required to respect their elders, listen to their parents, think for others, and study hard. Before children go to school, these Chinese cultural concepts are instilled by their parents.

But in American schools, especially from primary school, teachers require students to have their own independent thinking, be good at expressing their own views, treat others equally, dare to challenge authority, and participate in extracurricular activities and public welfare undertakings.

1.2 The Conflict Between Personality and Cultural Stereotypes

Some Chinese children originally like to study arts and arts, but their parents insist that they study computer science, medicine, business school, or other science and engineering. This just caters to the prejudice against Chinese Americans in American society. They think that they only know mathematics and chemistry, they are more concerned about their own employment and income, rather than social problems and humanistic thought. So most people think that Chinese students lack the ability to manage and communicate.

1.3 Language and Appearance

Especially the children born in China, but came to the United States at a very young age, already speak Chinese but have not learned English. It’s going to be hard for them to communicate in an all-English school in the United States. If they speak English with an accent, they will be ridiculed by their classmates. Some Asian children feel inferior because of their small eyes, single eyelids, flat nose, brown skin, and short stature.

2. The Difficult Process of Cultural Identity of Chinese Children

To some extent, the process of the cultural identity of Chinese American children is more difficult than that of their parents. Parents may think that it is enough to take good care of their children, urge them to study hard, and tell them more about the truth that “a good scholar makes an official”. But in school, children need to be accepted by others first, not excluded.  If they don’t have a good sense of self-esteem, they will be hurt if they are isolated. Children are often caught between the two cultures, often at a loss, with inferiority, anxiety, and self-dwarfing culling their capacity

Many immigrant children have similar experiences of cultural identity confusion. However, in the context of multiculturalism in the United States, many Chinese immigrant parents send their children to Chinese schools to learn Chinese in order to keep their offspring tied to their cultural roots .

3. Chinese Immersion School Highlights Its Importance

Parents generally believe that although children are reluctant to go to Chinese school, they have improved their self-esteem and self-confidence after several years of study. In school, they are often invited to the classroom by teachers to show other students how to write Chinese characters or how to speak simple Chinese. Some parents say their children have accepted their dual cultural identity and are proud of it.

In this sense, a Chinese school is no longer a place for simple language teaching. The various activities held by the Chinese school make it a social place and a Chinese community. Parents and children have made friends in Chinese school, where they can communicate in Chinese, and exchange information to adapt to mainstream society. Chinese schools have also become a pillar of social support. Members of the community support each other and give psychological comfort.

How to make children keep Chinese, like Chinese culture, keep psychological balance and spend a healthy and happy life, which are the wishes of many parents. However, because children growing up in the United States have received different information, cultural behaviors, and values from Chinese families and American society since childhood, many children will have confusion about cultural identity. Some may even feel self-hatred which will make them lose their self-confidence. Some children obey their parents at home in order to please their parents, but they may behave Americanized when they go to school in order to be accepted by their classmates.

Learning and living in a Chinese immersion school allows children to absorb the best parts of the two cultures and create their own cultural identities and wonderful life.

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