Opportunities for character development in multi-cultural settings
Doctor of Philosophy
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This dissertation explores character development opportunities in for first-generation Nepali immigrant students, as exemplified in Ontario public school classrooms. The theoretical framework for this dissertation is derived from Aoki’s conceptualisation of the ‘in-between,’ which relates to the experiences of people living in the binaries of East and West, communitarian/liberal, and home- and host-cultures. Metaphorically, this dissertation understands character development to occur in the negotiations that people engage in on the central portion of a “bridge” between the binaries. Written and interview data was collected from three Nepali students, representing the home-culture, and the three teachers representing the host-culture. This data was then developed into a series of Vignettes that were then analysed, following the strategy of interpretive phenomenological analysis. The discussion of the themes, which emerged from the analyses of the Vignettes, has been made using the trope of the bridge, explaining that the distant ends of the bridge are symbolic of the binaries in which people live. Ontario public school classrooms are the inclusive spaces of the ‘in-between,’ where people from both the ends of the bridge hold prolonged communications and use the language of virtues. The analysis shows a strong link between the lived experience of the participants and the Ontario Ministry of Education character development document. The discussion reveals that character development is the negotiation in the ‘in-between’ of the bridge. This dissertation concludes with implications for the credibility of the Ministry character development document, the importance of engaging in purposeful communications, and using the language of virtues in negotiations between the values of home- and host-cultures.