Identity Perception of Chinese Immigrant Youth at a Mandarin Bilingual School

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This study explored identity perception of youth from Chinese backgrounds in the context of a Mandarin/English bilingual education program in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The study was based on the theory proposed by Grosjean (2015) on bilingualism and biculturalism, together with bilingual identity negotiation framework by Fielding (2015). Six students from Grades 7 to 9 were individually interviewed about how they used languages and how they perceived their identities as a person from Chinese backgrounds in the Mandarin/English bilingual program. Results indicated that bilingualism is a dynamic process. Some participants in this study started with one language as the dominant language, but after a transition period, the first language became the weaker language and the second language the stronger language. Meanwhile, results revealed their creative uses of languages. Most participants engaged in code-switching in their language use both in the interviews and in their home usage of languages. Through this program, they learned how to value their own languages and cultures as well as feeling proud of being Chinese. Implications of the study suggested the need to emphasize the importance of affirming identities in language learning for immigrant students. In order for students’ bilingual competence to develop, the immigrant students’ heritage background should be seen as a valuable resource and be fully respected.
Chinese immigrant, Identity
Lai, X. (2018). Identity Perception of Chinese Immigrant Youth at a Mandarin Bilingual School (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/32654