A Narrative Inquiry Into the Experiences of Korean Immigrant Mothers’ Familial Curriculum Making in Canada

  • Author / Creator
    Kwon, Jin Mi
  • This study sought to provide an understanding of Korean immigrant mothers’ experiences of familial curriculum making. The research puzzle focused on the experiences of Korean immigrant mothers as they engaged in familial curriculum making with their children and as they interacted with school curriculum making in Canada. Dewey’s theory of experience (Dewey, 1938), ideas about the curriculum of lives (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; Huber & Clandinin, 2005; Chung, 2008), places of curriculum making (Huber, Murphy & Clandinin, 2011; Pinnegar, 2016), Schwab’s view of curriculum (1973), and ideas about familial curriculum making (Huber et al., 2011; Houle, 2012, 2015; Swanson 2013, 2019; Lessard, 2014) helped me to understand mothers’ experiences in familial curriculum making and their positions as curriculum makers in immigrant families within familial curriculum worlds and school curriculum worlds.
    The study involved three Korean immigrant mothers who were educated in Korea and who were living with, and educating their children, in Canada. Using narrative inquiry (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000), I opened conversational spaces with Ms. Lee, Ms. Yoon, and Ms. Park and inquired into their familial curriculum experiences by attending to dimensions of temporality, sociality, and place (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000).
    Field texts (data) included multiple research conversations in Korean about participants’ familial curriculum making, family stories, and artifacts such as children’s school projects. Most research conversations were audio-recorded with participants’ consent and were transcribed in Korean. I composed the research texts in two languages — English and Korean — when necessary, as a symbolic expression of the phenomenon that there are mothers who want to tell their stories in their mother language within the Canadian educational landscape. In composing research texts, I made visible the complexities of the three mothers’ experiences of familial curriculum making by attending to the places in which their lives were, and are, being composed, to peoples who were, and are, composing their curricula together, and to life situations that were, and are, being shaped by familial, cultural, social, and institutional narratives (Clandinin, 2010, p. 472).
    Across the mothers’ three narrative accounts, I discerned four resonant threads: Mothers’ Early Curriculum Making Shapes Living Familial Curriculum Making; Multiple Co-composers in Each Mother’s Familial Curriculum Making; Familial Curriculum Making as Processes of Composing Curricula of Lives; and Mothers as Familial Curriculum Makers Are Always Becoming.
    The study contributes to new ways of understanding Korean immigrant mothers’ experiences via perspectives of curriculum that connect with lives, in the hope of shifting away from deficit approaches to research on immigrant parents. It also illuminates the multiplicities and complexities of Korean immigrant mothers’ familial curriculum making by regarding these mothers as curriculum makers and by understanding their composing of a curriculum of lives with their children as curriculum making.
    The study facilitates immigrant parents’ learning to inquire into familial curriculum making, teachers and educators learning to co-compose the curriculum of lives with immigrant children and families, and people composing their lives with immigrant mother familial curriculum makers learning to create an on-going, responsive conversational space with an empathetic ear. A personal justification for the study was being able to share my stories as a Korean immigrant mother and teacher.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2020
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
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