Alice Hyun Min Kim

Studying towards a Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences
Determinants of learning success among Pacific children aged six years in New Zealand

Alice Hyun Min Kim

Pacific immigrants in New Zealand constitute a young, vibrant, and fast growing ethnic group. Pacific people’s cultural heritage is diverse and manifests in many differing traditions, languages, and histories of immigration. Their cultural values and adherence to traditions importantly shape their views on education, health and wellbeing. Using data on a large birth cohort of Pacific children, my doctoral study explicitly investigated the association between cultural environment and the level of agreement among Pacific children, their mothers and teachers on their perceptions of Pacific children’s academic performance at age 6 years. These perceptions were then compared to the children’s performances in a traditional language assessment tool. Additionally, Pacific children’s English receptive vocabulary at age 6 years was used as the outcome variable in a prediction model that included predictors related to birth outcomes, maternal health, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and children's early behavioural and cognitive development. Overall, the study found that Pacific children, their mothers and teachers had very different perceptions when it came to assessing Pacific children’s academic performance and those perceptions were strongly influenced by the family’s cultural background. These empirical findings emphasised the importance of cultural considerations and improving home-school communication and cultural continuity for achieving optimal intervention and academic outcomes.

Supervisors:

Primary Supervisor: Philip Schluter
Co-Supervisor: Brigid McNeill
Additional Supervisor: Gail Gillon

Research Interests

In my research, I focus on social determinants of health and wellbeing. I am also interested in studying how cultural orientation and acculturation process influence immigrant health outcomes in New Zealand. I have a strong background in quantitative methods and take empirical and evidence-based approach in my research. I enjoy working in a multi-disciplinary team and collaborating with experts in epidemiology, statistics, language and speech pathology, and bilingualism. I am motivated by studying ways to achieve equitable outcomes in our society and ultimately, create the best environment for our children to grow up in.

Working thesis title

Determinants of learning success among Pacific children aged six years in New Zealand