The Role of Socioeconomic and Sociocultural Factors in Language Minority Children's Development: An Ecological Research View

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Tufts University]On: 27 October 2014, At: 06:53Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK</p><p>Bilingual Research Journal:The Journal of the NationalAssociation for BilingualEducationPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:</p><p>The Role of Socioeconomicand Sociocultural Factors inLanguage Minority Children'sDevelopment: An EcologicalResearch ViewVirginia Gonzlez aa University of CincinnatiPublished online: 22 Nov 2010.</p><p>To cite this article: Virginia Gonzlez (2001) The Role of Socioeconomic andSociocultural Factors in Language Minority Children's Development: An EcologicalResearch View, Bilingual Research Journal: The Journal of the National Association forBilingual Education, 25:1-2, 1-30, DOI: 10.1080/15235882.2001.10162782</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all theinformation (the Content) contained in the publications on our platform.However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness,or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and viewsexpressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, andare not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of theContent should not be relied upon and should be independently verified with</p><p></p></li><li><p>primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for anylosses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages,and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly orindirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of theContent.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes.Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan,sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone isexpressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Tuf</p><p>ts U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 06:</p><p>53 2</p><p>7 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p><p></p></li><li><p>The Role of Socioeconomic and SocioculturalFactors in Language Minority Children's Development:</p><p>An Ecological Research View</p><p>VirginiaGonzalezUniversity ofCincinnati</p><p>Abstract</p><p>The purpose of this ar ticle is to critically review contemporaryliterature on externalfactors influencing language minoritychildren 'sdevelopm ent. This article merges literature from separate modules,stemming from researchers within a developmental psychologyand an ethn ic minorit y perspective. The first section present s anovcrarching multidimen sional mod el for under st and ing theimportance ofan ecological perspective to the study ofdevelopmentin language minority children . This first section present s a contextfor the second section on socioecono mic sta tus (SES) factors, andfor the third section onsociocultura lfactors influencing developmen tin language min orit y children. Th is arti cle clo ses by presentin gsome recomm endations for much-needed research for broadeningour current understanding of the int eracting effect of SES,sociocultura l. and other medi ating factors (i .e ., bio log ica l,psychological) on developmental and educ ational achieve mentlevels attained by language minority children' s development.</p><p>Purpose and Objective</p><p>The purpo se of this article is to critically review cont emp orary literatureon external or contextual factors influencing language minority children' sdevelopm ent , bringing together literature from separate modul es, stemmingfrom researchers within: (a) a developmental psychology perspective, withtraditi onal methodological paradigms that fail to repre sent the cultural andlingui stic backgrounds of langu age minority children stud ied; and (b) anethnic minority per spective, with alternative qualitati ve measu res andmethodological procedures that tap the cultural and linguistic diversity oflanguage minority students (see Gonzalez &amp; Yawkey, 1993; Gonzalez, Brusca-</p><p>Role of Socioeconomic and Sociocultural Factors</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Tuf</p><p>ts U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 06:</p><p>53 2</p><p>7 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>Vega, &amp; Yawkey, 1997, for further discussion ofthe ethnic research perspecti ve).More specifically, this manuscript has the objective ofbringing together thesetwo separate modules of research by presenting a state-of-the-art theoreticalparadigm. This model is supported by contemporary research literature, whichendorses an ecological and multidimensional view of language minoritychildren's development.</p><p>Research evidence examines two ofthe most important overarching factorsthat have been demonstrated to significantly influence language minoritychildren's development. The socioeconomic status (SES) oflanguage minoritychildren's families arches as the first factor. In contemporary literature, SESencompasses much more than parental income, which has been traditionallyconsidered as an exclusive index. In modem literature, SES has been expandedto include the study of the educational level of parents, degree of literacy ofparents, parental occupation, and to give attention even to neighborhoodquality and community resources. Emphasis is given to critically reviewingthe literature, specifically examining the effect oflow SES on minority children 'sachievement levels and future economic productivity during adulthood.</p><p>The influence of sociocultural factors on language minority children'sdevelopment is the second significant factor analyzed. Contemporary studiesconsider the home and family structure as an omnibus variable representingnumerous sub-variables (e.g., number of siblings, birth order, child rearingpractices, value and belief systems held by parents, immigration status ofparents, family mobility, and parents' number ofyears of U.S. residence). Asthere are numerous sub-variables represented in modem literature studyingsociocultural factors, this critical review emphasizes the effect of the languageused at home by parents and siblings on language minority children'sdevelopment and achievement.</p><p>Thus, three sections are included in this article. The first section presentsan overarching multidimensional model for understanding the importance ofan ecological perspective to the study of development in language minoritychildren. This first section serves to provide a context for both the secondsection on SES factors, and for the third section on sociocultural factorsinfluencing development in language minority children. This article presentssome concluding remarks in relation to the state-of-the-art research conductedon language minority children's development from an ecological andmultidimensional framework . Some concluding recommendations are madefor much needed research for broadening our current understanding of theinteracting effect of SES, sociocultural, and other mediating factors (i.e.,biological, psychological) on language minority children 's development.</p><p>2 Bilingual Research Journal, 25:1 &amp;2 Winter &amp; Spring 2001</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Tuf</p><p>ts U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 06:</p><p>53 2</p><p>7 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>Multidimensional Model for Understanding MinorityChildren's Development</p><p>Co nte mporary researchers endo rse developmental and eco logica l modelsthat tak e into consid eration multidimensional variables stemm ing from theinteractio n of intern al and ex te rnal factors. Th e use of thi s mult id imension alapproa ch results in more complex research methods and strategies that allowto st udy (a) high er level th inking and problem -sol ving proc esses, and (b)developmental trends with more elabo rated co ntro l for cont extual factors andindi vidual di fferen ces (through the combination of longitud inal and cro ss-sec tiona l strateg ies resulting in sequential studies) . For instance, Garcia Coil( 1990) proposed that the tran saction between the organi sm s or psychologicalvariables present within the chi ld and the co ntex tua l sys tem is very dynam ic .More speci fica lly, she highlighted the interaction of at-risk biological factors(e .g ., prem aturity), social at-r isk factors (i.e., low SES), and cultura l factors(e .g ., min orit y va lues and beliefs, child-re ar ing techniques, caretaker s 'beh aviors, pa rent s' perceptions and de velopmental goals).</p><p>In addition, thi s tra nsac tion amo ng biologi cal , soc ial, and cultura l fact ors(representing interacti on s between intern al and ext ernal fac tors) may createeffec tive. or ineffect ive, home en vironments for minority chi ldren to becomeresil ient or at risk of developing learning problems. Ma sten and Coatsworth( 1998), in try ing to shed light on the particular interaction s resulting in eitherresil ience or at-ris k situations for language minority students, conducted adata-based study, and co nclude d that:</p><p>Chi ldren who have goo d internal and external resources tend to ge toff to a good start in school . .. [wh ereas] Childre n who enter schoo lwith few resources, cogn itive diffi culti es, and self-regulatory problemsoften have academic probl em s, and get into trouble with teach ers, andarc at -ris k for disengaging from normative school and peer contex ts.(p.2 16)</p><p>This contemporar y vi ew of the interaction between internal ( i.c. ,representing biol ogical and psychologi cal dom ain s) and ex te rna l fac tor s (i .e.,represent ing SES and soc iocultura l domains) affecting minority children 'sde velopment is related to the developmental principles of ran ge of react ionand cana liza tion. As discussed previously by Gonza lez and Yawk ey ( 199 3),these two pr inciples arc very useful for explaining the dynamic interact ionamo ng SE S, sociocultura l, psycholog ical , and biological fact ors influen cin glanguage minority children's development. More specifically, the pr inciple ofrange of react ion proposes that there is flexib ility and plastic ity within biologicalfactors, so that the child is born with a potential to develop and learn (genotypeor gen et ic endowme nt), rather than with alrea dy acquired skills and abili ties.The complementary pr inciple ofcanalization states that the particular externalenv ironme nt in wh ich the chi ld lives (e.g., home and fam ily setting, school</p><p>Role of Socioeconomic and Sociocultural Factors 3</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Tuf</p><p>ts U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 06:</p><p>53 2</p><p>7 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>culture) will provide a positive or negative degree ofstimulation for the child 'sgenetic potential. The resulting degree of actualization of this potential isintluenced by the interacting effect of inseparable internal and external factorscanalizing the child 's genetic endowment. Then, ecological or external factorsare important mediating processes canalizing or actualizing the geneticpred isposition of children into skills, abilities, and adaptive strategies whichresult in resilience. This achievement is called developmental competence.</p><p>In relation to the interacting effect ofexternal factors on internal potential,Hill and Sandford (1995) concluded, after reviewing social science researchacross disciplines, that "low family income compromises children's physicalgrowth, cognitive development and socio-ernotional functioning. Low familyincome decreases the achievement of children when they are in school andputs them at heightened risk of dropping out of school early" (p. 91) . Theresearchers developed a conceptual model of how poverty affects children'sdevelopment across the life span , finding a causal pathway linking conditionsofparental family or external events with childhood poverty to adult capabilitiesand performance (i.e., earnings, wage rate, work hours, and family income).That is, as shown by Hill and Sandford (1995), "Poverty exerts its effectsthrough a process involving a chain of causal linkages" (p. 93) .</p><p>In addition, this causal model also identifies confounding factors (oftenmeasured by social science research studies) that have an effect ondevelopmental outcomes, education , and adulthood abilities andaccomplishments. These confounding factors arc defined by Hill and Sandford(1995) as "circumstances that can confound estimates of the effects ofchildhood poverty" (p . 101). These confounding factors encompass: (a)parents ' characteristics such as low parental education, single-parent family,parental marital disruption, race, and parental unemployment; and (b) durationofpoverty (i.e., persistent versus transitory poverty). Hill and Sandford (1995)also noted the existence ofmany other confounding factors often not measuredby social sciences studies, such as (a) parental characteristics in relat ion toacademic and social skills, and (b) parenting skills in relation to health behaviorsin child caring (e.g ., whether they fix nutritious meals, and whether they seekmedical advice during early signs ofhealth problems in their child, etc.).</p><p>Thus, contemporary research studies are presenting cumulative evidencefor the importance of studying the interaction between: (a) internal child'scharacteristics across developmental domains (i .e., biological , physical,psychological-cognitive, social , emotional), and (b) external factors presentin the school and family environments (i.e., socioeconomic and socioculturalcharacteristics such as the parents' educational level and occupation, and thefamily structure such as the language used at home) .</p><p>4 Bilingual Research Journal, 25:1 &amp; 2 Winter &amp; Spring 2001</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Tuf</p><p>ts U</p><p>nive</p><p>rsity</p><p>] at</p><p> 06:</p><p>53 2</p><p>7 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>Methodological Variations Across Disciplines</p><p>Aside from the need to conduct multidimensional studies, taking intoconsideration the powerful etTect of external factors on language minoritychildren 's internal potential, there is also a critical need for using valid andreliable methodological procedures for representing the social , cultural, andlinguistic characteristics ofthis population. The most common problem in thisarea is that studies stem from different disciplines and rarely present aninterdisciplinary approach. Therefore, available studies represent a very diverseset of theoretical paradigms and philosophies, and consequently also select awide variety of research methodologies. This methodological variation acrossdisciplines, and other existing problems, has been noted by several researchersbefore (e.g., see Gonzalez , in press-a; Messick, 1995; Moss, 1992). For instance,Ilill and Sandford (1995) noted the methodological problems present whencomparing research findings conducted with language minority children acrossdisciplines...</p></li></ul>


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