Enacting identities: children’s narratives on person, place and experience in fixed and hybrid spaces

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Ibrahim, Nayr (2016)
  • Publisher: Education Inquiry
  • Journal: Education Inquiry (issn: 2000-4508, eissn: 2000-4508)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/edui.v7.27595
  • Subject: Children; parents; identity; literacy; multilingualism; hybridity

Where adults go, children follow. The reality of a globalized, interconnected world, characterised by the mobility of people, goods and knowledge, across physical and virtual spaces and time, has had a significant impact on children’s early experiences of language, literacy and identity. Children are not peripheral to, but constitute an integral part of these transnational, translocal experiences. Consequently, they learn to function in diverse language contact situations from birth or from a very young age. This paper explores how these early multiple language and literacy experiences lay the foundations for the construction of a multilingual identity. The study investigates how children, aged 5 to 12, construct their identity across languages, literacies and educational spaces: their mainstream French classroom; an out-of-school English literacy course; an after-school heritage language programme. Based on a child-centred methodology, including interviews with children and their parents, children’s drawings and writings, and chosen symbolic objects, this study gives children a voice in exploring their sense of place in the world. The children’s multimodal narratives suggest they negotiate identity positions within fixed (national) and hybrid (transnational) spaces, in interaction with real people, in tangible places, and via lived experiences, which have value for the children.Keywords: Children, parents, identity, literacy, multilingualism, hybridity(Published: 4 March 2016)Citation: Education Inquiry (EDUI) 2016, 7, 27595, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/edui.v7.27595
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