The role of sociocultural factors in shaping student engagement in Hong Kong: An ethnic minority perspective

Dennis Michael MCINERNEY

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


The manner in which learners respond to school and other educational settings and benefit from the experiences presented is influenced by the sociocultural environments in which they are socialized and schooled. Engagement in learning is shaped by social and cultural influences related to gender, class, race, family, religion and socio-economic status. Social, political, religious and cultural contexts define what is acceptable and valued. Within these contexts, individuals and groups seek success by participating in activities that are valued and that develop the skills and dispositions needed to excel in their cultural and social milieu. What defines academic engagement and success in one cultural or social milieu may not be the same as what defines engagement and success in another. Furthermore, it is very clear that some sociocultural factors are very important in determining the success or lack of success of students at school. For education, therefore, to be meaningful and engaging for all learners it must take account of each learner’s sociocultural background. In many cases the mismatch between teachers’ and schools’ knowledge of learners’ backgrounds and cultures can be so vast as to impede effective learning. This may be particularly the case for students from various minority backgrounds. In order, therefore, to enhance student engagement, teachers and schools must be aware of the richness of the sociocultural dimensions of motivation and learning their students bring with them to school, and implement teaching practices that are sensitive to the requirements of students coming from diverse cultural and social settings. Focusing on the Hong Kong context this presentation will examine a number of key sociocultural characteristics of learners that should be considered in order to teach students effectively to enhance student engagement in learning and maximise the potential of all. Copyright © 2010 The Hong Kong Institute of Education.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010
EventChair Professors: Public Lecture Series - The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong
Duration: 02 Mar 201002 Mar 2010


SeminarChair Professors: Public Lecture Series
Country/TerritoryHong Kong


McInerney, D. M. (2010, March). The role of sociocultural factors in shaping student engagement in Hong Kong: An ethnic minority perspective. Paper presented at the Chair Professors: Public Lecture Series, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.


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