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Underprivileged Students Who Succeed



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Underprivileged Students Who Succeed by Ka-Yan Lam
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This dissertation, "Underprivileged Students Who Succeed" by Ka-yan, Lam, 林家欣, was obtained from The University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong) and is being sold pursuant to Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License. The content of this dissertation has not been altered in any way. We have altered the formatting in order to facilitate the ease of printing and reading of the dissertation. All rights not granted by the above license are retained by the author. Abstract: Abstract of thesis entitled "Underprivileged Students who Succeed" Submitted by Lam Ka Yan for the degree of Master of Philosophy at The University of Hong Kong in January 2006 In the past few decades, sociologists have placed the focus on family background as the main explanation for the differential educational achievement of students. Students from a rich family are privileged in the sense that the abundance of material and cultural resources is an important contributing factor to school success. Conversely, students from a poor family are underprivileged. This theoretical position however does not seem to apply to my study of ten underprivileged students. These students from working-class families were educated in the local education system in Hong Kong. All have done well academically and have attained university education. I discovered in the course of my study that poor family background with its implications - parents' incapability in supervising these students' schoolwork, inadequate material resources, and lack of knowledge of high culture - did not bar these students from school success. On the contrary, I found that a poor home environment acted as an impetus to work hard and achieve for these students. I also found that the role of cultural capital in contributing to the school success of my sample students was minimal. This phenomenon could be an indication that Hong Kong schools are not concerned with the cultivation and transmission of high culture and the so-called highbrow tastes. My data suggest that the sample students' self image as a student played a crucial role in their school performance. The ten sample students' positive student identity laid the foundation for their good school performance. Most of them developed a positive student identity early in their student career. My study has to a significant extent been an examination of their experiences at school - of how the school, teachers and schoolmates played a part in sustaining and advancing their positive student identity in their path to school success. My study suggests that a good school and classroom atmosphere, with a strong climate of academic competition among classmates, and with supportive teachers and fellow classmates, is essential in compensating for the lack of resources which underprivileged students face. My study has led me to the view that student aptitude or personality and where his/her ability lies appear to have an important effect on the student's school success. In the Hong Kong context, an examination-oriented attitude and the ability to perform well in examinations are essential assets for school success. In this sense the underprivileged students in my study succeeded academically because they were able to fit themselves well into a particular education system. (411 words) DOI: 10.5353/th_b3552248 Subjects: Children with social disabilities - China - Hong KongAcademic achievement - China - Hong Kong
Release date NZ
January 26th, 2017
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Country of Publication
United States
colour illustrations
Open Dissertation Press
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