Intentionality and Partnership: Building Effective Partnerships Between Chinese Immigrant Parents and Early Childhood Educators in New Zealand
Teacher-parent partnership is promoted in the early childhood education sector in New Zealand as it positively influences children’s learning (Ministry of Education, 1996). However, the growing number of enrolments of Chinese children in early childhood education services in Auckland, New Zealand makes most early childhood teachers’ daily work challenging in terms of working in partnerships with Chinese parents who are new to New Zealand. Due to cultural and language differences, teachers and Chinese parents have different understandings of teacher-parent partnerships and early childhood education. These different understandings have impeded the development of effective teacher-parent partnerships (Chan, 2011).
The objective of this study is to investigate the construction of partnerships between New Zealand early childhood teachers and new immigrant Chinese parents and to identify and propose effective strategies for teachers to develop effective partnerships with Chinese parents.
This qualitative study examines discourses of intentionality evident in the way that three New Zealand early childhood teachers and three Chinese immigrant parents perceive effective partnerships. Data generated in this research through conducting semi-structured interviews was analysed and used to create a conceptual partnership framework specifically with Chinese parents/whānau, and intentionality, in mind.
Findings of this research suggest that the construction of effective partnerships between teachers and Chinese parents is influenced by their comprehension of partnerships, intentionality, knowledge of cultural diversity, and communication. This research introduces a conceptual framework for investigating partnerships between teachers and Chinese parents in the early childhood sector in New Zealand.