Negotiating Identities of Mexican-American migrant students through their participation in the migrant student AIM (Action Inspiration Motivation) Club: A case study based in Randolph County, North Carolina

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Title: Negotiating Identities of Mexican-American migrant students through their participation in the migrant student AIM (Action Inspiration Motivation) Club: A case study based in Randolph County, North Carolina
Author: Crawford, Rachel
Advisors: Dr. Paul F. Bitting, Committee Chair
Dr. Peter A. Hessling, Committee Member
Dr. Robert C. Serow, Committee Member
Dr. Theoron T. McKinney, Committee Member
Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative case study based in Randolph County, North Carolina, is to determine whether AIM Clubs (middle and high school after-school clubs) can help to facilitate the Mexican-American migrant students' process of transitioning or incorporating into the American society by allowing them to negotiate their identities in an empowering rather than disempowering manner; and, if so, how? The study proceeds by applying Cummins' (1996, 2001) framework for empowering culturally diverse students in a diverse society, as he details in Negotiating identities: Education for empowering in a diverse society. The application of this research is for schools to analyze the substance and quality of their AIM Clubs or other extra-curricular clubs, in hopes of creating clubs that help ease the transition of culturally diverse students into American society and schools. Participants include students, parents and staff in 12 in-depth interviews, 25 surveys, 2 focus group interviews, and observations of club activities and special events. Data also is gathered through an extensive review of artifacts. Findings are reported by common themes in response to the study's five guiding research questions: 1.) What are the practices, beliefs and attitudes of people in the club? 2.) What are the specific and types of activities in which students participate? 3.) What are the perceived academic and/or social benefits and effects on migrant students who participate in the AIM Club? 4.) Why do students participate in the AIM Club? 5.) Are there issues of the transitioning process that surface for the students? •How do students feel about becoming “an American?„ •What would students like to see happen regarding this process? Major themes emerging in data analysis include: parent involvement, school and community service and participation; sharing, acquiring and maintaining culture; committed staff, social and academic benefits, a need to learn English, personal cultural adaptation and community cultural adaptation. Analysis involves aligning the findings to the four components identified by Jim Cummins (1996, 2001) that contribute to the academic and positive identity development of culturally diverse students: •Affirmation of students' cultural identity and encouragement of primary language literacy and language development; •Encouragement of active parental participation; •Cognitively-challenging instruction that provides opportunities for students to draw on their background experiences while working collaboratively to explore issues and topics that are relevant to their lives. •The above interventions “are implemented in a school context where issues related to the education of culturally diverse students have moved from the periphery to the center of concern for the entire school. Educators, both individually and collectively, have defined their roles in such a way that their interactions with culturally diverse students actively affirm students' identities. The educational structures established in the school reflect these role definitions.„ (pp. 146-147) The conclusion reached through data analysis is that AIM Clubs can positively facilitate Mexican-American migrant students' transition into American society and schools by helping them to negotiate their identities in an empowering manner.
Date: 2003-03-27
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Educational Research and Policy Analysis
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/3365


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