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Identity struggles: Korean stories on transitioning to secondary school from primary school

Margaret Kitchen


This article relates Korean parents’ stories of their children’s transition from primary to secondary school and identity struggles on entering secondary school. Mystified by the loss of a characteristically invitational culture at primary school, and without salient role models to provide ideas of who they might become, some students responded to pressure from newly arrived international students to prioritise Korean-language use and to learn traditional Korean school behaviour norms. Although The New Zealand Curriculum’s vision prioritises confidence, connectedness, and active involvement, the lived transitioning experiences of these students were characterised by a faltering of confidence, a break-down in connectedness, and constrained options for identity construction.

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