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ERIC Number: ED529303
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 278
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1246-1464-9
Navigating Multiple Worlds in the Twenty-First Century: Authoring and Editing the Story of One Japanese Kid
Damrow, Amy L.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
Since the middle of the twentieth century waves of immigration have increased heterogeneity in American classrooms and contributed to new challenges and problems for both teachers and learners. These trends in the United States are, in fact, part of a global phenomenon of large-scale movement of people (Garcia Coll & Marks, 2009; Suarez-Orozco, 2004). In the twenty-first century, children and their families cross borders for various reasons and under widely different circumstances, but all of them must learn to adjust to new expectations and find new ways to belong. This "ethnography of the particular" (Lughod, 1991) uses Bronfenbrenner's (1979) ecological model to map one boy's experiences living and going to school in both the United States and Japan. I broadly use sociocultural theory and Lave and Wenger's (1991) concept of communities of practice to examine those experiences. Although I consider the home, the neighborhood, and the school as important social and cultural settings, my primary focus is on school settings. The three-phase study centers the perspectives of a 10-, 11-, 12-year-old over a 15-month period. The focal participant discussed his views of friendship, his experiences in school, and his expectations of teachers. He also offers a comparative perspective as a participant in the final year of elementary school in both the United States and Japan. Interviews with his parents--primarily his mother--and his teachers as well as whole day observations at Lakeview Elementary School, the Japanese School of Michigan, and Kaichi "Shogakko" supplement the child's standpoint. School documents were also analyzed in order to assess written expectations across settings. Two story lines run through the dissertation. The first allows us to learn something about a boy as he goes to school and makes friends during a time of ecological transition; the other invites us to reflect on the systems of which he is a part in both the United States and Japan. I consider daily life in three particular schools, the ways that schools structure childhood, and the challenges border-crossing children face as they navigate implicit and explicit expectations. The study examines how friendships are conceptualized and experienced in different ways in different contexts. The research also allows us to consider how the child at the center of the study experiences and interacts with educational processes across settings while offering a student's comparative analysis of American and Japanese elementary schooling. Navigating multiple different worlds fosters the development of valuable skills and flexible ways of thinking, but it also presents challenges and includes "costs." The study provides a fine-grained analysis of one kid's experience navigating multiple educational, social, and cultural transitions and allows us to see how a child exercises agency, develops competence and builds connections and relationships. Through identifying the processes of adjustment and authoring within contextual complexities, adults can learn to recognize and appreciate children's emerging identities within the ecological complexity of their lives. The study contributes to an understanding of how communities of educators, teacher educators, and researchers can better serve students as whole human beings by developing capacities to listen to children and discover their stories--from the inside-out. This study suggests that these stories are critical jumping off points for adults who influence the lives of children in classrooms and schools through their teaching, their research and their policies. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan; Michigan