Announcement of Ed.D. Dissertation Defense: Understanding Recent Immigrant Youth through Their Developing Sense of Belonging in Informal Learning Spaces

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 12:00pm - 2:00pm

Zoom Meeting - Virtual

Dissertation Defense

This study examines the development of identity, citizenship and sense of belonging among 1.25-generation immigrant youth – those that immigrated to the US between 13-17 years old (Rumbaut, 2004) – in a service-learning oriented afterschool program on the programmatic, local, national, and global-levels using ethnographic and microethnographic methods. Analysis of everyday social interactions between the students, facilitators, and community members of various generational statuses, ethnic backgrounds, and linguistic abilities and their participation in games, team-building exercises, workshops, and service-learning project unmasks the meaning-making process of the educational activities by the students’ and its influence on the perceptions of their own notions of belonging, identity, and citizenship. The data includes over 90 hours of recorded video interactions during the weekly afterschool program sessions, focus groups with students, and individual interviews with focal 1.25-, 1.5-, and second-generation immigrant youth and adult facilitators. The findings show the immigrant youth’s sense of belonging, within the program and in the wider local community context, being shaped and mediated by factors such as spatial positioning, language, the ethnic context, their future goals and the interactional progression of conversations. Furthermore, their sense of belonging to these different spaces revealed the dynamic process of their identity formation and their complicated perspectives towards citizenship in their new US lives as a number of youth saw their futures not being bound to the US. From the findings, this study offers youth workers and other educators’ pedagogical and curricular recommendations on how to help recent immigrant youth integrate into the classroom community and create activities that support their transnational lives.


Who to contact:

Siqing “Erica” He