From the heart to the world and back again: Co -constructing school literacy practices with children from immigrant, migrant, and refugee backgrounds

Hans Gerald Campano, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

My dissertation is the product of my work as a fifth grade teacher researcher at a multi-ethnic neighborhood elementary school in California between the years 1998–2001. It examines how school literacy may be deeply inflected with the students' own culturally based values and commitments. I take a critical look at deficit models of instruction that homogenize classroom practice and devalue the rich experiential diversity of our school population. I also explore alternatives: for example, the role that memory and storytelling play in creating solidarity within the class; the way children use autobiography to work through the traumas bequeathed to them by history; the potential for school writing to enhance a child's understanding of her own membership in a diaspora community; and how the performance arts can become a vehicle for students to critically engage as well as understand their worlds. All my research is informed by a conception of literacy as embedded in history and culture and grounded in realist theories of experience and identity. I simultaneously theorize classroom relationships and my own stance as a teacher researcher. I both argue for and illuminate an organic and dialectical methodology that braids the inquiries of the teacher with those of the students. In conclusion, I conceptualize the urban teacher researcher as an emergent social identity.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Multicultural education

Recommended Citation

Campano, Hans Gerald, "From the heart to the world and back again: Co -constructing school literacy practices with children from immigrant, migrant, and refugee backgrounds" (2003). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3095864.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3095864

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