¿Eres un Gamer?: Engaging Transnational Children in Game-Ecology Language and Identity Socialization Within the EFL Environment

¿Eres un Gamer?: Engaging Transnational Children in Game-Ecology Language and Identity Socialization Within the EFL Environment

Steve Daniel Przymus (Texas Christian University, USA) and Alejandro Romo Smith (University of Arizona, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2933-0.ch015
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Abstract

This chapter sheds light on the potential impact of CALL theory and practice on the language and identity socialization of transnational children when educators imagine and promote interaction beyond the classroom. The authors focus specifically on the educational trajectories of 1) children returnees, who were born in Mexico, at some point in their lives moved to the U.S., and then returned to Mexico and 2) international migrants, born and many attended school in the U.S., and then moved to Mexico as a result of repatriation and/or deportation (Zúñiga & Vivas-Romero, 2014). The authors advocate creating blended affinity spaces (Przymus, 2016) at schools where youth can meet and play digital role-playing games, discuss game-ecology literacy development within these spaces, detail the implementation of such spaces in schools, and share game screen shots, blog posts, and the perspectives of transnational students that support this kind of learning within the EFL environment.
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Introduction

We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been—a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free (Starhawk, 1988, p. 92, emphasis added).

Home, for the estimated 1.5 million transnational children caught in the historical circular migration pattern between the U.S. and Mexico border, can be, as Starhawk describes above, a half-remembered, half-envisioned place, that many have never seen, nor known. In the past decade, scholars have begun to bring to light the issues of these children’s fractured schooling and traumatic experiences of trying to adapt to new countries, homes, and sociocultural practices that may be on the one hand in some ways connected to their heritage, but on the other hand vastly disconnected to their lived cultural and linguistic experiences (Borjian, Muñoz de Cote, van Dijk, & Houde, 2016; Medina & Menjívar, 2015; Zúñiga & Hamann, 2006, 2015; Zúñiga & Romero, 2014). The challenges facing youth swept up in reverse migration have also been highlighted beyond the academic literature as journalists have recently taken up this theme through stories in daily newspapers and radio news casts, such as the New York Times article by Cave (2012) “American children now struggling to adjust to life in Mexico,” the article, “Deported to Mexico: A lost generation” by Lakhani (2015) in the Guardian, and a story on the PBS News Hour by Fred de Sam Lazaro (2016) “Young returnees start over in Mexico after growing up in the U.S.”

The articles and stories in the media, referenced above, specifically document the experiences of 1. children returnees, or children who “were born in Mexico, eventually left to the U.S. (generally with their parents or at least one of them) and after some period of residency in the U.S., returned to Mexico” (Zúñiga & Vivas-Romero, 2014, p. 3) and 2. international migrants, who were born in the U.S., many attended school in the U.S., and then moved to Mexico as a result of repatriation and/or deportation (Zúñiga & Vivas-Romero, 2014). In the larger discussion on the educational attainment of transnational children traversing the U.S.-Mexico border, historically, studies have focused on the schooling and community adaptation of 1.5 generation migrants, or an estimated 800,000 children who were born in Mexico, emigrated to the U.S., and have remained in the U.S. (Gonzales & Chávez, 2012; see also Zúñiga & Vivas-Romero, 2014). With exception to the articles and stories mentioned above, the narratives of reverse migration and the voices of children returnees and international migrants attending schools in Mexico have not been heard with the same volume. It can be estimated from the 2010 Mexican Population Census that 350,000 children returnees and 500,000 international migrants now reside in Mexico (Giorguli & Gutiérrez, 2011; Gonzales & Chávez, 2012; Zúñiga & Hamann, 2015). According to Zúñiga & Hamann’s longitudinal survey studies, approximately 420,000 of these children have enrolled in Mexican schools, grades 1-9 alone, and that as many as 330,000 children were born in the United States (2015, p. 644; see also Zúñiga, 2012; Zúñiga & Hamann, 2006). As noted by Borjian et al., (2016), “With the exception of Zúñiga and Hamann (2006), transnational children’s experiences in Mexico have, to a large extent, been over-looked” (p. 43).

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