At the mainstream's margins: Re-examining Hmong students' schooling through the eyes of Hmong administrators, teachers, and parents




Yang, Yeng

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Hmong Americans have been in the United States for more than 40 years, yet, their communities have continued to be invisible and marginalized from the mainstream society. At a time when many traditional public schools have failed to meet the cultural, linguistic, and academic needs of Hmong students (Vang, 2005), this study focuses on examining the first Hmong-based charter school in Northern California; the study examines how the school operated and executed its curricula, instructional practices, and pedagogies to meet the linguistic, cultural, and academic needs of Hmong students. The research questions that guided this study consisted of the following: (1) What are the views and beliefs of the administrators, teachers, and parents about the rationale for and mission of the PSY Academy and the school's effectiveness in meeting the academic, linguistic, and cultural needs of Hmong-American students? (2) What are the instructional practices and pedagogies used to address the needs of Hmong students classified as ELLs? And (3) How does the school incorporate Hmong language and culture into the curriculum? The findings suggest that while there is a robust character education program in place in supporting the young Hmong students to become productive and responsible citizens in society, the linguistic and cultural needs of Hmong students are not being fully addressed. This study ultimately argues that Hmong linguistic and cultural practices must not be perceived as a subset of the charter school, rather, they must be infused unequivocally into the school.


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Elementary Education, English Language Learners, Hmong



Bicultural-Bilingual Studies