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Children as Language and Cultural Brokers in Asian American Families (page 3)

By and — Diversity in Education Special Edition Contributor
Updated on Oct 25, 2010

How Schools and Parents Can Help Child Language Brokers 

As the influx of Asian immigrants continues, many more children of Asian immigrants will become their families' designated language brokers. As language brokers, these children will be put in positions and situations where they may have to perform tasks and take on responsibilities that are beyond their cognitive and language abilities. In addition, these children may not have the skills, knowledge, or sense of maturity to carry out their responsibilities. The language broker's identification with his heritage culture, family values, and relationships with parents can be important determining factors in how the language broker is positively or negatively affected by the brokering experience. School psychologists, educators, and practitioners who work directly with children of Asian immigrants, as well as the parents of these children, can focus on helping these children to retain their heritage cultural values and traditions as well as promote positive parent-child relationships and strong sense of familial obligation.

References

1.    Reeves, Terrance, and Claudette Bennett. We the People: Asians in the United States. U.S. Department of Commerce: Economics and Statistics Administration, 2004.
 
2.    Hall, Nigel, and Sylvia Sham. "Language Brokering as Young People's Work: Evidence from Chinese Adolescents in England." Language and Education 21 (2007): 16-30.
 
3.    McQuillan, Jeffrey, and Lucy Tse. "Child Language Brokering in Linguistic Minority Communities: Effects on Cultural Interaction, Cognition, and Literacy." Language and Education 9 (1995): 195-215.
 
4.    Tse, Lucy. "Language Brokering in Linguistic Minority Communities: The Case of Chinese- and Vietnamese-American Students." The Bilingual Research Journal 20 (1996): 485-98.
 
5.    Chao, Ruth. "The Prevalence and Consequences of Adolescents' Language Brokering for Their Immigrant Parents." In Marc Bornstein and Linda Cote, ed. Acculturation and Parent-Child Relationships: Measurement and Development. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2006, pp. 271-96.
 
6.    Trickett, Edison, and Curtis Jones. "Adolescent Culture Brokering and Family Functioning: A Study of Families from Vietnam." Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 13 (2007): 143-50.
 
7.    Jones, Curtis, and Edison Trickett. "Immigrant Adolescents Behaving as Culture Brokers: A Study of Families from Former Soviet Union." The Journal of Social Psychology 4 (2005): 405-27.
 
8.    Buriel, Raymond, et al. "The Relationship of Language Brokering to Academic Performance, Biculturalism, and Self-Efficacy among Latino Adolescents." Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 20 (1998): 283-97.
 
9.    Hernandez, Donald, Nancy Denton, and Suzanne Macartney. "Children of Immigrant Families: Looking to America's Future." Society for Research in Child Development Social Policy Report 22 (2008): 3-23.
 
10.   Wu, Nina, and Su Yeong Kim. "The Role of Cultural Orientation and Family Mediators in Chinese American Adolescents' Perceptions of Their Language Brokering Experience " Journal of Youth and Adolescence (forthcoming).
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