07 SES 03 C, Belonging, Funds of Knowledge, Identities
Migrant families are growing dramatically in many Western countries for various reasons due to population growth, economic mismanagement, restrictions on civil rights and civil wars. Considering that these families generally provide human resources for the host country, different aspects of their lives seem worthy of inquiry and research. Many families who immigrate or are admitted to Western countries have school-age children or adolescents who want and need to be educated. Due to this fact that migrant families are dramatically increasing in all around the world and especially in Europe, and also because of the importance of generating successful and potential workforces with having appropriate interactions, studies in higher education in today’s world especially about migrant- family students is vital. The cultural diversity of students at universities all over the world is increasing; it is important that these students, with their diverse experiences, are also perceived during their studies in the host society. The difficulties for the first-generation college students who belong to immigrant families become stronger as their parents do not have higher education degree and they do not have the university life experience. According to Pike & Kuhn (2005) research failed to examine the nature of first-generation student’s college experiences. There is little research on the fundamental experiences of this group of students, although according to Williams the connection between education and migration is not a new issue (Williams, 2009). However, a few have tried to focus on first generation migrant family college students ‘identity and their position regarding their educational experiences with having two cultures at home and outside.
The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between the intercultural identity of First Generation Migrant Family Students (FGMFS) and its positioning in their educational path towards higher education and university and how FGMFS integrate themselves into the new personal, social and cultural context and what experiences they have had. This study discovered and identified important experiences, phases and places within the Finnish educational system during their school careers from school to university and at the university. The study describes and finds factors that shows their skills and abilities which stand for smooth social and academic integration on the one hand, but on the other hand it also identifies the factors that represent a major challenge and make integration more difficult and sometimes impossible.
In this study the Grounded Theory approach was used, starting from the idea of the Grounded Theory method no theoretical framework was used at the beginning of this study. However, based on the data, the categories formulated from them and the phenomenon, “the grounded theory” that emerged, additional appropriate theoretical models were determined and also linked to the categories and findings to describe the results. Important theoretical models and concepts referred to were Bandura's social cognitive learning theory (1999), Schwartz's value model (1992) and Hofstede's (2011) model of the cultural dimension.
In order to collect the necessary data in this qualitative study, 15 semi structured open interviews were conducted to explore the cross-cultural experiences of first-generation immigrant family students at universities regarding their education in Finland. The chosen basic method for analyses is based on Grounded Theory. According to Glaser & Strauss (1967), Grounded Theory provides us with an explanatory framework to understand the phenomenon under study. The generation of the theory is based only on the data collected in the study and not on other resources or existing theories. The data were collected in individual interviews. Partially structured open interviews were conducted to discover the phenomena that help the researcher find a relationship between the main emerging issues and categories and then build a theory. To ensure the adequacy of the sample size for data collection, further interviews based on the saturation theory were discontinued after 15 interviews. The saturation theory was first formulated by Glasser & Straus (1967) in order to secure and ensure suitability for a solid theory. However, the probing and prompting of an interview seems to be more important than the number of interviews (Weller et al., 2018). In Grounded Theory, each interview is coded to discover new topics. In each interview there is an opportunity to discover new topics, which leads to a relationship between the topics that founded the theory. Therefore, additional interviews have been agreed in this study to ensure that the sample is appropriate. In explorative studies, the data are analysed with a well-founded theoretical approach, so that the theory will emerge from the data. In this study, the analysis comprised three steps: open coding, axial coding and selective coding. In the first step, line-by-line coding was used. Memos were written by reading and re-reading the transcriptions to find the concepts and patterns in the axial coding, or in other words to find the relationships between the concepts. There has always been a constant comparison between codes, between codes and categories and between categories and categories. The last step is the selective coding to integrate and organize the key categories and to reach the core category. This resulted in a coherent "grounded theory" about the categories who have an impact on the experiences of these students on their way to higher education.
Through the data analyse, three important domains of tension were identified: Gender roles and inequity, identity development and positioning in respect to the tensions between individualistic and collectivist societies, and the possibility of developing critical thinking and analytical skills through education. The analyses of the interviews show what patterns, tensions and experiences arise in relation to cross cultural identity and how these students can change or break certain patterns in order to be integrated and be the first in their family to receive a successful higher education in the host country. Their position and integration into the host society affects their viewpoint, which sees itself as a cosmopolitan person who does not belong to a state but belongs to the world. This perspective and attitude was developed because they see themselves between cultures. The values of society and the institutions that got and taught gave them this perspective and opportunity to have their own culture and orientation. Values in the educational system and in society gave them the opportunity to develop their analytical skills and thinking. They always compared the different cultures and values and these comparisons and the analyses helped them to understand and recognize the differences and to find their position that helps them to succeed in their education. Based on these results, further steps can be developed and implemented to further promote and support the first generation of migrant families who had no access or opportunity to higher education. Key words: First generation migrant family students, Cross-cultural identity, Higher education, Grounded theory, Positioning
Bandura, A. (1999). A social cognitive theory of personality. In Pervin, L. & John, O. (Ed.), Handbook of personality (2nd ed.), 154-196. Glaser, B. G, & Strauss, A. l. (1967). The Discovery of Grounded Theory-Strategies for Qualitative Research. New Brunswick (U.S.A.) and London (U.K.). Received from: http://www.sxf.uevora.pt/wpcontent/uploads/2013/03/Glaser_1967.pdf Hofstede, G. (2011). Dimensional zing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context.Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 2(1).https://doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1014 Pike, G., & Kuh, G. (2005). First- and Second-Generation College Students: A Comparison of Their Engagement and Intellectual Development. The Journal of Higher Education, 76(3), 276-300. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.libproxy.tuni.fi/stable/3838799 Schwartz, S. H. (1992). Universals in the content and structure of values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 25, 1-65. Weller, S. C., Vickers, B., Bernard, H. R., Blackburn, A. M., Borgatti, S., & Gravlee, C. C.(2018). Open-ended interview questions and saturation. PLoS ONE, 13(6): e0198606. https://doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pone.0198606 Williams, N. (2009). Education, gender and migration in the context of social change. Social Science Research, 38, 883-896.
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