Learning other cultures' ways of knowing: Literacy and subjectivity among Korean students learning English
During the past decade, identity has become one of the significant constructs in educational research. In particular, the recognition of learners' identity in the process of language learning marks a paradigm shift in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) research. Given that learning new patterns of knowing and participating in new communities are accompanied by concomitant changes in identities, it becomes significant to conceptualize the complex relationships among language learning, culture, and identity in different contexts.
This study explores how second grade Korean students make sense of who they are and how they are seen by others while learning English as a Second Language (ESL) in a variety of literacy practices and in a specific social setting, using theories of subjectivity to understand the participating students' sense of self and their multiple and situated identities in multilayered social interactions and discourses. This study is a qualitative research effort, a discourse-oriented ethnographic inquiry involving interviews, long-term observations, and discourse analysis. The ethnographic and discursive data of the study not only described literacy practices that Korean ESL students engage in, but also documented the participating students' subjectivities associated with the particular literacy practices of the ESL classroom.
The major themes of self that emerged from the ethnographic and discursive data of the study are being Korean, being a student, being a reader and/or writer, being a speaker of English and/or Korean, linguistic and ethnic self, and self in a cultural and/or relational context. A variety of contexts across different settings of the ESL program provided opportunities for students to negotiate multiple meanings of self along with changes in life, language, and culture. By engaging in various contexts of language learning and literacy practice, students experience tremendous challenges to envision different or alternate views of self and self-other relationships. The findings of the study demonstrate that the participating students negotiate their multiple social identities in language learning and literacy practice and their understandings of the language, culture, and self are shaped by discursive interactions in their social settings.
0282: Multicultural education
0518: Preschool education
0535: Reading instruction