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A bilingual, bicultural interpreter and researcher navigates blurry boundaries and intersectionality

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A researcher reflects using a close reading of interview transcripts and description to share what happened while participating in multiple roles in a larger ethnographic study of the acculturation process of deaf students in kindergarten classrooms in three countries. The

A researcher reflects using a close reading of interview transcripts and description to share what happened while participating in multiple roles in a larger ethnographic study of the acculturation process of deaf students in kindergarten classrooms in three countries. The course of this paper will focus on three instances that took place in Japan and America. The analysis of these examples will bring to light the concept of taking on multiple roles, including graduate research assistant, interpreter, cultural mediator, and sociolinguistic consultant within a research project serving to uncover challenging personal and professional dilemmas and crossing boundaries; the dual roles, interpreter and researcher being the primary focus. This analysis results in a brief look at a thought provoking, yet evolving task of the researcher/interpreter. Maintaining multiple roles in the study the researcher is able to potentially identify and contribute "hidden" knowledge that may have been overlooked by other members of the research team. Balancing these different roles become key implications when interpreting practice, ethical boundaries, and participant research at times the lines of separation are blurred.

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2011

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Children with dis/abilities in Namibia, Africa: uncovering the complexities of exclusion

Description

Children with dis/abilities the world over are widely required to sacrifice their human rights to education, equity, community, and inclusion. Fewer than 10% of children with dis/abilities in developing countries attend school. Namibia, Africa, where this study took place, is

Children with dis/abilities the world over are widely required to sacrifice their human rights to education, equity, community, and inclusion. Fewer than 10% of children with dis/abilities in developing countries attend school. Namibia, Africa, where this study took place, is no different. Despite Namibia's adoption of international covenants and educational policy initiatives, children with dis/abilities continue to be overwhelmingly excluded from school. The body of literature on exclusion in sub-Saharan Africa is laden with the voices of teachers, principals, government education officials, development organizations, and scholars. This study attempted to foreground the voices of rural Namibian families of children with dis/abilities as they described their lived experiences via phenomenological interviews. Their stories uncovered deeply held assumptions, or cultural models, about dis/abilities. Furthermore, the study examined how policy was appropriated by local actors as mediated by their shared cultural models. Ideas that had been so deeply internalized about dis/abilities emerged from the data that served to illustrate how othering, familial obligation, child protection, supernatural forces, and notions of dis/ability intersect to continue to deny children with dis/abilities full access to educational opportunities. Additionally, the study describes how these cultural models influenced cognition and actions of parents as they appropriated local educational policy vis-à-vis creation and implementation; thereby, leaving authorized education policy for children with dis/abilities essentially obsolete. The top down ways of researching by international organizations and local agencies plus the authorized policy implementation continued to contribute to the perpetuation of exclusion. This study uncovered a need to apply bottom up methods of understanding what parents and children with dis/abilities desire and find reasonable for education, as well as understanding the power parents wield in local policy appropriation.

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2010

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Exploring the intersections of local language policies and emergent bilingual learner identities: a comparative classroom study at an urban Arizona school

Description

This multilevel, institutional case study used ethnographic methods to explore the intersections of local language policies and emergent bilingual students’ identities in dual language and structured English immersion (SEI) classrooms at one urban elementary school. Using a sociocultural policy approach

This multilevel, institutional case study used ethnographic methods to explore the intersections of local language policies and emergent bilingual students’ identities in dual language and structured English immersion (SEI) classrooms at one urban elementary school. Using a sociocultural policy approach as means to explore the ways that educational language policies are appropriated and practiced in schools and classrooms and an intersectional literacy identity framework, I engaged in a multilevel qualitative analysis of one school, two fifth-grade classrooms, and four focal emergent bilingual students. At the school and classroom levels, I sought to understand the ways educators practiced and enacted language policies as well as how they conceptualized (bi)literacy for emergent bilingual students. At the student level, I engaged in identity-text writing sessions designed around student interests yet aligned with the opinion/argumentation writing style the students were working on in class at the time of data collection. Additionally, I conducted one-on-one interviews with the participants at each level of analysis (i.e. school-level, classroom-level, and student-level). The primary data analysis sources included participant interviews, classroom observations, and student identity-text artifacts.

Findings highlight the dynamic in-school and classroom-level realities of emergent bilingual students in an Arizona educational-language policy context. Specifically, at the school level, there was an ongoing tension between compliance and resistance to state-mandated policies for emergent bilingual students. At the school and classroom levels, there were distinct differences in the ways students across the two classrooms were positioned within the larger school environment as well as variation surrounding how language and culture were positioned as a resource in each classroom context. The role of teachers as language policymakers is also explored through the findings. Analysis of student texts revealed the centrality of intersectional student identities throughout the writing processes. The discussion and conclusions more broadly address implications for educational practice, policy, and future research directions.

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Date Created
2018

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Counter-narratives of African American academic persistence: identity maps and funds of knowledge

Description

Over 150 years since the abolition of slavery, African Americans still lack equal access to education and other quality of life markers. However, a slow increase in African American students pursuing and obtaining higher education demonstrates the progress of African

Over 150 years since the abolition of slavery, African Americans still lack equal access to education and other quality of life markers. However, a slow increase in African American students pursuing and obtaining higher education demonstrates the progress of African American academic success. Although still not at an equitable level, this progress, and the voices of success are often muted by the majoritarian narrative of African American student failure. This research focuses on African American student success and examines the specific socio-cultural characteristics and processes that shape the ways in which African American students develop their own counter-narratives to persist and gain access to higher education. This study utilizes narrative inquiry in the form of interviews, artifacts collection and student-drawn identity maps to understand the factors that influence the development of counter-narratives. The primary research questions included: What narratives did African American students tell themselves to help them persist in school, attain a high school diploma and pursue higher education? How did they develop their narratives? How did their narratives influence their educational experiences? Five African American students who attended an elite public university in the southwest United States participated in four to five interviews ranging from six to ten hours in total. Through the analysis of their stories, the importance of culture and context were clear. Specifically their social support systems including their parents, siblings, teachers and mentors, significantly influenced their identity development and human agency. The findings also point to a critical path forward: if society commits to supporting African American student success, then shine a light on stories of persistence and potential rather than shortcomings and failures.

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2016