The Concept of Responsibilities among 5th Grade Students from Ethnic Minority Groups in Viet Nam

By Do Quyen, Le To; Zaharim, Norzarina Mohd et al. | Asian Social Science, July 2013 | Go to article overview

The Concept of Responsibilities among 5th Grade Students from Ethnic Minority Groups in Viet Nam


Do Quyen, Le To, Zaharim, Norzarina Mohd, Hao, Nguyen Ke, Van Son, Huynh, Asian Social Science


Abstract

This study investigates the concept of responsibilities among 5th grade students from ethnic minority groups in Viet Nam. A sample group of 300 5th grade students from ethnic minority groups was selected by convenience sampling together with 300 peers from the ethnic majority group. All of them were asked to complete a questionnaire designed for the purposes of the study. The finding shows that the concept of responsibilities among 5th grade students from ethnic minority groups initially reaches the basic responsibilities which are society requirements for children. However, it still weaker than that of peer partners from the ethnic majority group. The difference is statistically significant. Results also indicate that there is equal concept of the responsibilities of 5th grade students from ethnic minority groups in three dimensions: "Good children in the family", "Good students in school" and "Uncle Ho's good children" ("Good children in society"). The correlations between them are moderate average but have statistically significant.

Keywords: concept, responsibility, children, ethnic minority groups

1. Introduction

1.1 Children's Concepts of Responsibilities

UNICEF (1991) presented some of children's responsibilities that could accompany their rights according to a convention's agreement between countries to obey the same law: If every child, regardless of their sex, ethnic origin, social status, language, age, nationality or religion has these rights, then they also have a responsibility to respect each other in a humane way; if children have a right to be protected from conflict, cruelty, exploitation and neglect, then they also have a responsibility not to bully or harm each other; if children have a right to a clean environment, then they also have a responsibility to do what they can to look after their environment; if children have a right to be educated, then they have the obligation to learn as much as their capabilities allow and, where possible, share their knowledge and experience with others; if all children have a right to a full life, then they should also lend help so the needy, the disadvantaged, and the victims of discrimination also enjoy this right; if children have a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, then they also have the obligation to respect other's thoughts or religious principles.

The international child and youth care network suggested a framework for children's rights and responsibilities, in which along with rights, children have their particular responsibilities: Children's responsibility to listen to others; to take care of themselves; to study and respect their teachers; to show love and caring to others; to be the best people they can be; to respect the origins and beliefs of others; to share in keeping the surroundings neat and clean; to learn from others mistakes; not to waste food (CYC-Online, 2001).

For a long time up to now, the concept of responsibility has been as a salient and controversial theme in public debate, particularly in relation to children and families (Harris, Clark, Rose, & Valasek, 1954; Ochs & Izquierdo, 2009; Serpell, 2011; Stier, 1978); and there are extensive theories about the capacity of children to assume responsibility for themselves or 'self-regulate' their behavior raised by psychologists (Such & Walker, 2004).

Developmental psychologist Schaffer (1996) pointed out the age-based stages or phases of children's development, in which the acquisition of responsibility is very importance for the transition from childhood to adulthood. The gradual development in children's ability to assume responsibility for themselves is considered as normal development. The presence of empathy or altruism as a sense of responsibility to others also demonstrates the positive development: the progress in 'steps' or the sequences for the normally developing child (Hoffman, 1987).

According to traditional sociological theories of socialization, the conceptualizing of responsibility is learnt by example; socializing helps shape children's morally responsible attitudes and actions and this process is dependent upon the moral guidance of their parents, teachers or others (Parsons, 1974; Parsons & Bales, 1956). …

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