Schlagwort-Archive: social integration

On the diversity of Vietnamese immigration to Germany – what does it mean to be a “model minority”?*

The educational success of Vietnamese pupils – the so-called “Asian Miracle” – is well documented and sits deep in the public imagination. But what is the reality for these pupils and their families, so often praised as figureheads of successful integration? This anthology, edited by Kocaturk-Schuster and colleagues, aims to shed light on the diverse realities of the 176,000 persons of Vietnamese descent in Germany. As an anthology, it offers a range of perspectives with entries on education and upbringing just a fraction of its breadth.

The chapter by Aladin El-Mafaalani  and Thomas Kemper (“Educational success despite unfavourable conditions”) illuminates the current perception of Vietnamese pupils as a “model minority”. Using official statistics and various research findings, they document the outstanding educational success of Vietnamese pupils in the German education system, despite social and economic factors that usually adversely affect educational attainment. The authors cannot answer the question of the “Asian miracle”. But they do provide possible explanatory indicators that are yet to be researched. They also appeal for research in tertiary and further education that would enquire whether this educational success continues.

While the educational success of Vietnamese pupils is consistently revered, little is known of the intergenerational conflicts that result from migration-related experiences. In another contribution („Germans with parents from Vietnam“), Birgitt Röttger-Rössler describes the challenges that education gaps and language barriers pose to parent-child relationships. A generation of children, driven by a parental zeal for education, has entered the German education system and lives the local society. Their parents still struggle with the German language and customs, and often depend on the communication skills of their children. The traditional Confucian-influenced parent-child roles thus switch in the integration process. There is a collision with the strict hierarchical principle of seniority, according to which, younger people are obliged to obey their elders completely. Traditional patterns of behavior no longer align with life in Germany such that family conflicts seem inevitable.

The insights provided here are indicative of a body of work that seeks to show the diversity of Vietnamese experience in Germany. It is thus recommended for readers who wish to look behind the façade of common stereotypes which situate the Vietnamese as a homogenous community that merely produces ‘model pupils’.

– Trang Schwenke-Lam

Kocaturk-Schuster, B., Kolb, A., Thanh Long, Schultze, G. & Wölck, S. (eds.) (2017). UnSichtbar: Vietnamesisch-Deutsche Wirklichkeiten. Edition DOMiD – Migration im Fokus, Vol. 3.

*This is an adapted version of a longer review which appears in Pacific geographies #49: http://pacific-geographies.org/2018/02/22/pacific-geographies-49/

What can we learn from immigrant students’ use of digital media?

It goes without saying that digital media now feature in almost all aspects of our daily lives. Not limited by national borders, they can open up new opportunities to develop language, literacy and social skills in globally relevant ways. In this regard, immigrant students have resources that are crucial to learning in the 21st century. Eva Lam argues that their digital practices must therefore be understood and leveraged in formal education settings.

Lam confirms that immigrant students in the US mostly use digital media for communication and for retrieving information. They communicate with peers and family in the US as well as in their countries of origin. They also access news from the US, their native countries and other parts of the world. Not only do students use several languages in these online activities, but they also broaden their perspectives on current events by having access to various resources.

Lam refers to a project conducted in a US high school with immigrant students and their peers on multimedia storytelling. Students gathered documents on immigration policy from different sources, interviewed members of their own communities regarding immigration experiences, and created a video documentary to show to others. Participating students could draw on their language skills, digital networks and access to different resources in the process of learning. Moreover, their linguistic and media literacy skills were acknowledged and valued as part of the exercise. By immigrant students having access to numerous linguistic, social and cultural contexts, other students gain insights into different societies and media reporting. Students in the classroom can discuss problems and issues from all over the world from different points of view including the local, national and transnational. Immigrant students in particular can be shown that their multilingual and media literacy skills are appreciated and can be encouraged to use and deepen them.

– Lilian Kreimann

Lam, W. S. E. (2012). What immigrant students can teach us about new media literacy. Phi Delta Kappan 94:4 (December 2012/January 2013), 62-65.