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Social Networking, Workplace, and Entertainment Literacies: the Out-of-school Literate Lives of Newcomer Latina/o Adolescents

Description: Studies indicate that Latina/o immigrant youth engage in a wide range of sophisticated literacy practices outside of school that are often transnational, crossing various linguistic, cultural, and social spaces. Technology has further afforded immigrant youth the opportunity to develop transnational capabilities which are rare in the mainstream population, yet needed in the 21st century of global connectedness. However, Latino immigrant youth drop out of school at disproportional rates, suggesting that their literacy practices are not recognized or valued by the educational system. Using a New Literacy Studies perspective that recognizes multiple literacies that are meaningful within their sociocultural traditions, this collective case study investigated the range, form, and purpose of the out-of-school literacies of four Latina/o adolescent English Learners who are new arrivals. The qualitative methodology employed constructivist interviews, digital and actual artifacts, and observations. Findings demonstrated that the most prevalent out-of-school literacies the participants practice take place on the social networking site of Facebook, in their workplaces, and through the entertainment media sources of music and television. A cross-case analysis suggests that the literacy practices in these spaces have unique and purposeful roles for the individuals that allow them to connect to their home countries and maintain their Latina/o identities. Additionally, the participants use their out-of-school literacy practices to acquire English, support themselves, and establish a place to succeed. The five aforementioned spaces that their Facebook, workplace, and entertainment literacy practices fill are virtually absent from their in-school literacies. This study suggests literacy pedagogy and research must not continue to impose a narrow monolingual, monocultural, monoliterate, and monomodal view of Latina/o immigrant students which essentially divests them of their greatest resources. Their literacy practices demonstrate that they are transnational, transcultural, emergent bilinguals who competently engage in multimodal means of communication across multiple linguistic, cultural, social, and geographic borders. Educators ...
Date: August 2012
Creator: Stewart, Mary Amanda
Partner: UNT Libraries