Shifting Identities: The Figured Worlds of One Adolescent Immigrant English Learner
Author ORCID Identifier
The purpose of this paper is to examine the complex nature of identity construction of one adolescent Mexican-American immigrant English Learner (EL) through the frame of figured world theory (Holland et al. Identity and agency in cultural worlds, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1998). We use case study methodology to explore the question: How does one adolescent Mexican-American immigrant EL, Mario, construct his identity, as he invokes different subject positions in relation to diverse social contexts? We highlight how Mario performs different identities within the diverse contexts in Mexico and in the U.S.: (1) a retornado (one who has returned) in Mexico, and then variously in his ESL classroom as (2) a model student, (3) a student of color challenging his white teacher’s authority, and yet other times, (4) a disruptive and uncooperative student, who missed class regularly, because he did not want to “miss out on life.” We underscore the importance for educators to understand adolescent identity construction, not as a linear set of stages, but as a shifting, complex, and multifaceted process, especially that of adolescent immigrants and the diverse geopolitical contexts from which they and their families originate.
English language learners, Figured world theory, Identity construction
Wickens, Corrine M.; Cohen, James A.; and Theriault, Jennifer C., "Shifting Identities: The Figured Worlds of One Adolescent Immigrant English Learner" (2020). NIU Bibliography. 450.
Department of Curriculum and Instruction (CI)