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A blessing with a curse: model minority ethnic students and the construction of educational success

Wong, B. (2015) A blessing with a curse: model minority ethnic students and the construction of educational success. Oxford Review of Education, 41 (6). pp. 730-746. ISSN 0305-4985

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/03054985.2015.1117970

Abstract/Summary

While concerns around minority ethnic students and underachievement have attracted considerable attention in educational research, such as in England, few studies have examined those who excel, except as reference to justify the equity of the established system. This paper explores the educational success of British Chinese and Indian students, who are synonymously recognised as the model minority due to their tendency to achieve exceptional grades in national examinations. Data in this paper includes four discussion groups and 23 semi-structured interviews with British Chinese and Indian students (aged 11-14) and six teacher interviews. This study explores the social costs and benefits of the label of model minority and how these students attributed with such an identity construct and interpret educational success. Although high expectations by self and by others can positively contribute to the educational success of British Chinese and Indian students, inflated expectations can also generate a continuous sense of insecurity. Model minority students must contemplate the fear of failure and the potential damage they could inflict on the reputation of their family. Implications of the identity of model minority for students, teachers and policy are suggested.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education
ID Code:69981
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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