Intergenerational learning in Hong Kong: a narrative inquiry

Ho, Cherri (2008) Intergenerational learning in Hong Kong: a narrative inquiry. EdD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The main objective of this study was to examine the intergenerational learning behaviour within the family between Generation X parents and their Generation Y teenage children. This study was designed to investigate the nature of intergenerational knowledge exchange, to identify the characteristics of learning behaviour and culture in such 'learning families', and to find out the subject areas that parents could learn from their teenage children.

The sample of this study was made up of ten pairs of middle-age parents with their teenage children coming from middle class families. A narrative inquiry approach was adopted and individual interviews were conducted when participants were asked to recall and tell stories describing their personal intergenerational learning experiences. A questionnaire was also employed to collect their opinions and experience on intergenerational family learning.

Results showed that 80% of all the participants thought their family was a 'learning family'. All the parents and 90% of the teenagers found that learning experience in their family was happy. Overall, 80% of all the participants gave a score of 7 or higher when they were asked to rate their family, with a score of 10 representing an ideal 'learning family'. All the parents realised that they had something to learn from their children. The Generation X parents could learn from their Generation Y children on trendy issues such as fashion, sports, recreation, music and western cultures. More importantly, almost everyone recognised that information technology (IT), computer knowledge and skills were the stronger areas among the teenagers. Among all the narratives told, 37% were episodes describing parents learning IT skills from their teenage children.

The data obtained from this study suggests that intergenerational family learning can be bi-directional. The families studied did engage in bi-directional intergenerational learning. Parents did learn from their teenage children. A positive family learning culture was found to facilitate intergenerational learning especially in the Generation Y to X direction. Intergenerational family learning was reported to be happy experience and it helped improve communication and understanding between the two generations. The participants pointed out that the learning methodology differed between the two generations due to societal changes and differences in their upbringing. Mothers and fathers play slightly different roles for intergenerational family learning according to their individual personality, interest and expertise, though mothers were believed to be more receptive and open to intergenerational learning, especially in the Generation Y to X direction.

There is a close relationship between 'family learning' and 'lifelong learning'. Ideas from the participants were collated to define the concept of 'learning family', 'family learning' and 'intergenerational family learning'. From the data obtained, a conceptual framework of intergenerational family learning in relation to lifelong learning and a developmental learning profile were drawn.

The results indicate that parents should foster positive learning attitudes and intergenerational learning culture in the family early at home. It is important that teenagers are empowered to share their knowledge and views. The government also has a role to play in re-defining teaching and learning practise in schools and promoting intergenerational learning in families for a knowledge society.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (EdD)
Supervisors: Atkin, Chris
Keywords: family culture, family learning, Generation X, Generation Y, intergenerational learning, learning, learning family, lifelong learning
Subjects: H Social sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 10486
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2008
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2017 17:12

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