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Title: Culturally responsive pre-school education : multicultural Malaysia on a small scale
Author: Mamat, Nordin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 8506
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2012
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Malaysian Government policy aims to meet the challenge of a culturally integrated society by 2020. As part of its approach it has established the PERPADUAN (National Unity) Pre-school. The primary aim of this study is to understand whether Malaysian pre-school education is culturally responsive to and inclusive for all cultures present in the setting by investigating positive and constructive parent-child relationships across three cultures. It is important to understand the social and cultural capital of parents and PERPADUAN pre-school‘s ethos effects on children‘s behaviour. The design and methodology in this study have been guided by Bronfenbrenner‘s (1979) Ecological Theory, which investigates the contextual domains affecting children‘s behaviour from ethnically diverse families. The study involved 25 children from one PERPADUAN Pre-school in an urban area, and their parents and teachers. A qualitative methodology was applied in this study. Naturalistic observations of the children were conducted over 12 weeks, in classroom activities and free play, and were recorded in field notes and with a digital camera to gain understanding of the children‘s behaviour. The children were interviewed based on observations and photographs conducted earlier. In-depth interviews were conducted with the parents and teachers according to the child observation and interview data. This research methodology was devised to produce a perspective of social behaviour from three dimensions: researcher, parents and teachers. The first findings in this study of a multi-ethnic pre-school in Malaysia considered children‘s social behaviours (i.e., helping, sharing, cooperation and respect) and relationships (i.e., friendships and peer networks) between ethnic groups. I observed that children from different ethnic groups shared common objects among themselves especially during the learning period. There was obviously developed reciprocity and interrelations between them. Children relate to each other through play activities and the use of language; they learn Malay because the social relationship is being developed across language groups. The second finding shows ethnicities and religious capital help to develop children‘s behaviour. Norms and values are based on ethnicity and religion. There are commonalities, such as respect, within and between ethnicities. Third, PERPADUAN Pre-school has regulated acceptable behaviour across the three ethnic groups which is in line with the home, emphasising polite language and the practice of ―budi bahasa” as a symbol of respectfulness for ethnic groups. Every child has been exposed to different cultures and has sensitivity to other ethnic groups. Finally, the most important outcome of this study is the development of the theoretical framework and methodology. Through my synthesis of evidence and framework, I have constructed a model of an ecological study of a Malaysian multi-ethnic pre-school, developed from the data of this study. In conclusion, the study gives a picture of the importance of contextual factors influencing child‘s development. The implications of these results for research in children‘s behaviour along with the practical implications of the findings are discussed and opportunities for future research are provided. Such longitudinal study may be needed in order to answer issues about how the level and quality of children‘s relationships remains consistent over the years until the end of primary and secondary school.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available