Date of Graduation
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
School of Education
International & Multicultural Education EdD
"The United States is faced with the privilege and challenge of educating immigrant children, not only in a second language and other skills, but also in the many and varied dimensions of life in this country" (London, 1990; p. 287).
Whether these children have fled rigid dictatorial regimes or wars, whether they came to the U.S. directly or spent time in refugee camps or detention centers, whether they have little more than what they are wearing at the time, or their families have planned the migration carefully, leaving their countries of origin legally and peacefully, bringing currency and the promise of jobs with them, they have been uprooted and will surely experience some difficulty and emotional discomfort adjusting to their new surroundings (Mills, 1994).
"Many immigrants actually come to the U.S. not realizing that there are many differences between their culture of origin and that of the host country. They continue to speak their languages, observe customs and conventions, follow traditions, and maintain certain norms. By doing so, they often discover that they are ostracized by members of the dominant culture" (London, 1990; p. 289).
The problem examined in this study is the independent elementary school's regard for the culture and language as well as the socioeconomic reality of the immigrant male and its effect on his emotional well being.
The researcher believes that cultural differences, when mistakenly or improperly perceived by children or schools, may be particularly distressing and problematic for male students. Their entire concept of what it is to become men in relationship to themselves and the world may be weakened, trivialized, or even destroyed through ignorance or cruel regard for their cultural traditions and values. Even if those charged with conveying the dominant culture to these boys believe that a change in outlook might be healthy and beneficial for their students, the boys must be empowered to make changes in their lives which are compatible with family and community standards and beliefs. Schools must help immigrant males cherish and continue to participate in the culture which is theirs, and, at the same time, help them to meet the basic requirements of their new land in order to enjoy the success and happiness which their families want them to attain.
The researcher has chosen to study the emotional well being of elementary school aged males in independent schools in the U.S. There is no doubt that females deserve a similar study, but since the researcher has taught in a private boys' school, he has had the opportunity to observe the differences in masculine behavior between male immigrant students and those male students born in the United States. He believes that the differences in perception of what it means to be a man are often quite dissimilar between one culture and another and that difficulties in adjusting to the demands of the host culture can cause the immigrant male considerable discomfort as he makes this transition.
The role of the male differs according to a number of factors. For example, while women have traditionally been viewed as being subordinate in China, Chinese men have for some time had the reputation of being henpecked. In the United States, it is not uncommon for men to appear to head the family unit while the women often make most of the major family decisions (Sung, 1967).
Japanese males are respected for their "health, character and willingness to work" (Petersen, 1978; p. 66). Historically, they possessed honest and authentic values and self-discipline, yet they allowed their families to choose their wives. They have always valued learning, and their literacy has been associated with economic progress and social characteristics and their hopes for the future. Like the Chinese and other Asian groups, the Japanese believe more in values related to the family than to the rugged individualism so highly prized in the U.S. (Petersen, 1978).
Boys from Hispanic communities may be preoccupied with the concept of 'machismo'. In these cultures, this concept may include bold and risky behavior - from games of chance to an acute sense of personal pride to a general disregard for rules and regulations. It views manhood as possessing short lived daring and 'bravado' rather than a long term appropriation of knowledge, skills, or discipline. Within an urban setting, 'machismo' may find its natural outlet in negative behavior in school or trouble with others in the street. Depending on the specific culture, the Hispanic child may have little regard for school or intellectual tradition. These traits, along with a fatalistic view of the future, may cause considerable disruption to schooling in the U.S. (Santoli, 1988).
Each individual culture has its own male role. Each immigrant student will need to balance this role with the expectations placed on him by the host culture and the school he attends. This will be especially difficult if there are few if any children or adults from his culture of origin with whom to relate and confide in the new school setting (Handlin, 1962).
This study, therefore, investigates how a male immigrant child's culture (including his language and his instinctive sense of his own masculinity) and socioeconomic circumstances are acknowledged and accepted in independent elementary school settings, and how this reality affects his emotional well being as he transitions from home to school.
Manwell, Philip, "Transitions to U.S. Private Schools: Perceptions of Six Immigrant Elementary School Boys" (1996). Doctoral Dissertations. 468.