Immigrant children in primary schools in Hong Kong : their adjustment and the role of civic education
This study investigated the adjustment of Newly Arrived Children (NAC) from Mainland China in three primary schools in Hong Kong and the role of civic education in the adjustment process. Questionnaires were delivered to five classes of primary five and six pupils to elicit information on various aspects of adjustment of these NAC as well as the patterns of interaction between the NAC and the local children. Interviews with school staff in these schools provided information on the aims, policies and other aspects related to the implementation of civic education in these schools, interviews with teacher trainees helped to provide further information on issues related to the implementation of civic education. Analysis of questionnaires results show that in general NAC have adjusted well to the school and social environment in Hong Kong. However, problems of interaction were found. Principal components analysis extracted nine factors from the questionnaire responses. There was evidence that the school was the organization which best helped the pupils to adjust to their new life in Hong Kong. The interview data show that teachers attributed interaction problems to the different cultural background and the age gap between NAC and the local pupils. However, fewer problems were reported in schools with a high proportion of NAC. The interview data also showed that personal habits, language and life style were reported as important aspects regarding the adjustment to life in Hong Kong. Based on the interviews, it appears that an important aim of civic education in the schools is to facilitate the adjustment of NAC to the life in Hong Kong. Compared with the formal curriculum, there is a greater reliance on the informal curriculum in implementing civic education. Problems encountered include the clear discretion of teachers to decide in what ways civic education is implemented through the formal curriculum. Another problem is the emphasis on assimilation.