Dissertation Defense – Eliza G. Allen

March 12, 2014 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
College of Education, room 650
30 Pryor Street Southwest
Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303

Up Close and Personal: Latinola Immigrant Children Making Sense of Immigration Through Critical Multicultural Literature and Online Discussions in a Third Grade Classroom
by Eliza G. Allen

This multiple case study explores the ways in which Latina/a immigrant children make sense of immigration by reading critical multicultural text and blogging. As U.S. immigration policy shifts have created more punitive policies for immigrant adults, these changes place both documented and undocumented children in difficult situations. With many children born in the U.S. as citizens, these families are identified as “mixed-status” families because of the rights and privileges that immigrant children and parents are afforded or denied (Capps & Fortuny, 2006). What appears to be missing from the research around immigration status and children of immigrants is how literacy, in particular digital literacy or blogging,can play a role in the understanding of immigration. Studies have illustrated that critical literacy discussions often help facilitate Latina/a immigrant youth’s understandings of the multiple communities and larger social spaces and their identities. Moreover, blogging also gives students an opportunity to express themselves in a way which will make them feel comfortable, which is not always possible in a classroom setting (Bloch, 2011, p. 159). The primary question guiding this study is: How does reading critical multicultural text around immigration issues and discussions in computer-mediated discourse communities help children make meaning of a larger social issue like immigration?