Living Here, yet Being There:
Facebook as a Transnational Space for
Newcomer Latina/o Adolescents
Mary Amanda (Mandy) Stewart
University of North Texas
[email protected]
Stewart, 2012 LRA
Framework
Diaspora Media Studies
(Lam & Warriner, 2012)
Transnationalism
Technology
Stewart, 2012 LRA
Transnational
 Noun: Those who have "moved bodily across national borders
while maintaining and cultivating practices tied…to their
home countries" (Hornberger, 2007)
 Adjective: To “depict social practices, political processes, and
cultural phenomena among individuals who do cross
geopolitical borders regularly as well as those who do not."
(Warriner, 2007)
Stewart, 2012 LRA
Technology
 Technology uniquely affects the hybridization of cultures
occurring in transnationalism.
(Garcia Canclini, 1995)
 Digital media has sparked the greatest change in literacy
since the printing press.
(Warschauer, 2009)
Stewart, 2012 LRA
Technology and Immigrant Youth
 Extant research primarily focuses on how Asian immigrant
youth in North America develop their multilingual and
multicultural identities in digital spaces through the use of a
variety of technology.
(Black, 2006; Lam, 2000, 2004; McGinnis, et al., 2007;
McLean, 2010;Yi, 2007, 2010)
Stewart, 2012 LRA
Research Questions
 1) For what purposes do the participants use Facebook?
 2) How does their transnational Facebook use challenge their
label as at-risk students?
Part of a larger study of newcomer Latina/o immigrants outof-school literacies.
High school: 2,000 students of many races with 13 in the ESL
classes
Stewart, 2012 LRA
Participant Information as of Jan. 2012
Name
Age
*pseudonym
Country
of Origin
Time in Grade in
U.S.
School
Valeria
19
El
Salvador
20
months
Sophomore
Alejandra
(Valeria's
sister)
17
El
Salvador
20
months
Junior
Celia
17
Mexico
18
months
Junior
Finished secundaria Beginner
= 10th grade
Miguel
20
Guatemala 9
months
Junior
In third year of
universificado =
12th grade
Stewart, 2012 LRA
Level of Education
Completed in
Country of Origin
In first year of
bachillerato = 10th
grade
In second year of
bachillerato = 11th
grade
Level of L2
Acquisition
as of today
Beginner
Intermediate
Beginner
Methodology
 Interviews, n=5-8 for each student
 Observations in their ESL classes, n=15
 Analysis of Facebook data: All posts from creation to June 2012
Facebook information as of June 2012
Date Started
Page
# of FB
Friends
All Post s by
Participant
All Posts to
Participant
Valeria
January 2011
241
543
965
Alejandra
December 2010
79
91
364
Celia
August 2010
69
31
62
Miguel
May 2011
83
11
29
Stewart, 2012 LRA
1) For what purposes do the
participants use Facebook?
 Demonstrate sophisticated transnational literacies through
Facebook in order to:
1) Connect to Home
2) Maintain their Latina/o Identities
3) Acquire English
Stewart, 2012 LRA
Connect to Home
 Why do you use Facebook?
 "For my sister and my mom.“
 "Para mis hermanos y mis primos" For my brother, sister, and
cousins.
 “Vecinos” neighbors
 Mother/daughter relationship: "El otro día me regañó [mi
mamá] porque eso, había una foto donde tenía el cabello
todo arreglado y me gusta que lise el cabello. Se enojó por
eso." The other day she got onto me because there was a picture of
me with my hair all done up and she likes my hair straight. She got
angry because of that.
Stewart, 2012 LRA
Connect to Home
 "feliz cumple pollo” happy birthday chicken
 "feliz cumple aki en guatemala lo qeremos muxo bndiciones
muaa ..!! cuidece.” happy birthday here in guatemala we love you
many blessings mwaaa ..!! take care.
 Protect younger siblings: "Hey victor mucho respeto a mi
hermana ok" Hey victor respect my sister ok
Stewart, 2012 LRA
Maintain Latina/o Identities
Stewart, 2012 LRA
soy puro chaplin
Latina/o Identities: FB Likes
Latin American Music Artists, TV
Shows, and Soccer Teams
Stewart, 2012 LRA
Youth Codes in Spanish
TQM
Te quiero mucho/
I love you a lot
X
Por
For
XK
Porque
Because
Stewart, 2012 LRA
Acquire English
 "Aquí en la escuela casi no tengo amigos de americano, así
que los tengo en Facebook." Here in school I really don't have
American friends, so I have them on Facebook.
 "i love" "me too" "what up"
 "They are sooo precious!"
 "yes i know >>they are Hilda's baby"
Stewart, 2012 LRA
Acquire English: Youth Codes
 “Cuando yo leo, yo pregunto que es esto, y ellos me dicen.” When
I read it, I ask what is this, and they [co-workers] tell me." (omg, lol,
XD)
 “omg!!!!!!”-Posted by Alejandra on Celia’s page
 Celia: “omg? Hola mi amiga?”
 Celia on why she does not post much on FB: "Es que quiero
escribir en inglés, pero no puedo. It's because I want to write in
English, but I can't."
 Celia posting on her page: "omg tomorrow i have test"
Stewart, 2012 LRA
Significance
 More than a decade ago, the New London Group (1996)
asked us to consider how the notion of literacy must change
to address educational inequalities in response to:
 1) the increasing local diversity through global connectedness;
and,
 2) the development of new technologies.
Stewart, 2012 LRA
2) How does the students’ transnational
Facebook use challenge their label as atrisk students?
 Outsiders in their high
school
 Lost in mainstream classes
 Failing high stakes tests
required for graduation
 Limited English proficient
Stewart, 2012 LRA
 Posses transnational skills
needed in the 21st century
that are rare in mainstream
populations
 Communicate in
multilingual and
multimodal ways
 Emergent multilinguals
Implications
 Facebook facilitates their English acquisition more effectively
than their school environment.
 Use for writing
 Facebook provides a safe place for them to interact with
“americanos.”
 Use to create dialogue in classes between the newcomer and
mainstream students
 Shared funds of knowledge (Paris, 2012)
 Facebook allows them to get news and information from
other parts of the world.
 Critical literacy, cultural consciousness
Stewart, 2012 LRA
Future Research
 Studies that demonstrate how immigrant students’ social
networking can be leveraged for academic learning
 Studies at the college level show how FB has been used in the
classroom to:
 analyze literature (Skerrett, 2010)
 safely develop an academic discourse (Reid, 2011)
 foster intercultural communication (Lang, 2010)
 create a sense of community within the class (Reich, 2010)
Stewart, 2012 LRA
Muxo gracias X venir
Thx 4 coming
XD
Slides available at
maryamandastewart.weebly.com.
Paper on LRA site.
[email protected]
Stewart, 2012 LRA
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