Ethnic Identity Essay

1525 words - 7 pages

The relationship between racial-ethnic identity and academic success and motivation can also be seen when studying gifted African American students. It is crucial to point out that much research has not been conducted on gifted African American students and the link between academic motivation and academic success. However, one issue that has been noted in the few studies is that African American students are caught between two worlds. They are caught between the notion of acting white and then the notion of being true to their blackness. In the African American community being smart and talking properly is seen as acting white and not being true to your culture. In order to identify and fit ...view middle of the document...

These studies discussed in this section again emphasis how ethnic identity, cultural value and academic success are all factors that are interrelated. A positive ethnic identity and a strong cultural connection can serve as a form of protection for these ethnic students but this protection can be a double edge sword. It can protect them from the risk of academic failure and motivate efforts towards academic achievement or it can deprive them of reaching their full potential and lead them down an academic slope. This is definitely an interesting concept that could lead to further research. (Warner, 2008; Shin, 2011)

What motivates ethnic students?
Ethnic students are all motivated by many different things. Some are motivated by competition and wanting to be the best in a particular subject area. Some are motivated by the praise of their teachers and peers. (Richards & Brown, & Forde, 2007) Factors such as social economic status, parental involvement and at home guidance also play a role in what motivates children of ethnic backgrounds. This is specifically noticed in immigrant children who come from families that have a strong cultural connection, follow certain practices, and have expectations and values that they uphold. Adolescents from Asian and Latin American backgrounds show how these factors play a significant role in their academic motivation. Asian and Latin American adolescents believe that they have to make sacrifices for their family. They take care of the siblings and help around in the house from a very young age. Due to the sacrifices their parents have made for them they have a great sense of guilt and feel it is their duty to put their best efforts forward and do well in school. The adolescents revealed that their source of motivation for doing well in school came from the fact that doing well would lead to secure employment, in turn giving them the opportunity to support their families in the future. Instead of wanting to do well in school for themselves (intrinsic motivation) they are motivated by the idea that education can provide a valued end. (Fuligni, 2011)
School belonging is also a very important source of motivation for students of ethnic backgrounds. School belonging is where students feel personally accepted, included and supported by the school. School belonging also promotes the creation of a strong and caring relationship between the students and the staff. When students have a strong sense of school belonging and a positive relationship with school staff they display a higher level of intrinsic motivation. Schools can implement various programs in order to increase a sense of school belonging with ethnic students. An example of an implementation was a counseling program that wanted to improve the academic success of African American students in their school. They decided to include some of the beliefs and cultural values of the students into the program which in turn made it much more effective. This...

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