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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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When the bell rings we go inside and learn: children's and parents' understandings of the kindergarten transition

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The transition to kindergarten is a significant milestone for children and families in the United States. Education reform movements and early childhood policy initiatives have had significant impact on the transition process in recent years, and as a result, there

The transition to kindergarten is a significant milestone for children and families in the United States. Education reform movements and early childhood policy initiatives have had significant impact on the transition process in recent years, and as a result, there is greater emphasis on promoting "ready children" for school. Previous research on the transition to kindergarten in the U.S. consists primarily of adult perspectives, examining parents and teachers' expectations for kindergarten and explicating their concerns about the transition. While adults impart important considerations about the transition to kindergarten, members of the early childhood community should also pay attention to children's perspectives as they too offer critical insight on getting ready for school. This dissertation foregrounds children's and experiences getting ready for and being in kindergarten, bringing attention their participation in transition activities and school routines. In addition, this study examines ways parents structure children's participation in transition activities and school routines to provide background information on children's experiences preparing for school. This study used data from a large-scale qualitative research project conducted in Arizona to understand children's experiences transitioning to kindergarten. Specifically, interviews with preschool-aged children, kindergarten-aged children, and mothers were analyzed to impart a deeper understanding of children's viewpoints becoming and being kindergarteners. Findings illustrate how mothers' understandings of kindergarten, and constructions of readiness have influence over the transition process. Moreover, findings offer thick descriptions of how children learn about kindergarten, make meaning of school rules and routines, and form membership within classroom communities of practice. Moreover, interpretations of children's viewpoints contribute nuanced understandings of situations that promote or hinder children's participation in transition activities, and subsequent engagement in kindergarten classrooms. This study contributes to the ongoing discourse on kindergarten readiness. The viewpoints of children and parents on getting ready for and being in kindergarten provide alternative perspectives, contributing to a more holistic understanding of the transition experience. Further, a key implication of this study is that children's perspectives be given due weight in practical, programmatic, and policy initiatives aimed at promoting positive and successful transitions to kindergarten.

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2012

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Turkana children's sociocultural practices of pastoralist lifestyles and science curriculum and instruction in Kenyan early childhood education

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This dissertation discusses the findings of an ethnographic exploratory study of Turkana nomadic pastoralist children's sociocultural practices of their everyday lifestyles and science curriculum and instruction in Kenyan early childhood curriculum. The study uses the findings from Turkana elders to

This dissertation discusses the findings of an ethnographic exploratory study of Turkana nomadic pastoralist children's sociocultural practices of their everyday lifestyles and science curriculum and instruction in Kenyan early childhood curriculum. The study uses the findings from Turkana elders to challenge the dominant society in Kenya that draws from Western education ideology to unfairly criticize Turkana traditional nomadic cultural practices as resistant to modern education. Yet Turkana people have to rely on the cultural knowledge of their environment for survival. In addition, the community lives in abject poverty caused by the harsh desert environment which has contributed to parents' struggle to support their children's education. Cultural knowledge of Turkana people has received support in research demonstrating the role cultural lifestyles such as nomadic pastoralism play as important survival strategy that enable people to adapt to the harsh desert environment to ensure the survival of their livestock critical for their food security. The study documented ways in which the Kenya national education curriculum, reflecting Western assumptions about education, often alienates and marginalises nomadic children, in its failure to capture their cultural Indigenous knowledge epistemologies. The research investigated the relationships between Turkana children's sociocultural practices of pastoralist lifestyles and the national science curriculum taught in local preschools and first grade science classrooms in Kenya and the extent to which Turkana children's everyday life cultural practices inform science instruction in early childhood grades. Multiple ethnographic methods such as participant and naturalistic observation, focus group interviews, analysis of documents, archival materials, and cultural artifacts were used to explore classrooms instruction and Indigenous sociocultural practices of the Turkana nomads. The findings from the elders' narratives indicated that there was a general congruence in thematic content of science between Turkana Indigenous knowledge and the national science curriculum. However, Turkana children traditionally learned independently by observation and hands-on with continuous scaffolding from parents and peers. The study recommends a science curriculum that is compatible with the Indigenous knowledge epistemologies and instructional strategies that are sensitive to the worldview of nomadic children.

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Date Created
2010

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I will tell you about playing with my brother [untitled]: perceptions of social interaction from the voice of child who has a sibling identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is experienced in a variety of ways within families particularly among siblings with and without ASD. The effects of ASD on sibling relationships are integral to family life. While some studies have examined sibling relationships, research

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is experienced in a variety of ways within families particularly among siblings with and without ASD. The effects of ASD on sibling relationships are integral to family life. While some studies have examined sibling relationships, research regarding sibling roles exhibited during play activities and social interactions is lacking. Further, siblings' voices are rarely revealed in research on play. In response to a need for greater understanding of the role of play among siblings impacted by ASD, this dissertation used a cultural historical activity theory lens to understand how play and social interactions evolved among siblings since childhood development is informed by access to and participation in play. Siblings may be considered actors with unique cultural histories as they create and re-create their own identities through play. In this study, an emphasis was placed on the complex processes siblings experience while locating their own niche with their families. The study focused on the use of a variety of tools, division of labor, the rules families utilized to interact and how these rules were disturbed. As a result, the study offers a more complete understanding of how play and social interactions affect the ways ASD impact siblings, families, and community members. This study provides holistic views of the development and impact of sibling play on identity development and relationships.

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2012