"I Can Express Myself with Computer Games!" Identity Resources Leveraged for Elementary Latinas' Science Self-Authoring
Authors: David Da Wei Liu, Hosun Kang
Presented at 2017 AERA
Abstract: Grounded in social practice theory (Holland et al., 1998) and drawing upon the notion of identity work (Calabrese-Barton et al, 2013), we view identity work as ongoing and cumulative. In this study, we attend to leveraging of identity resources which are any forms of assets that assist one’s authoring of self upon their social interactions. The research questions that guide the analyses are: (a) What are the types and nature of resources that girls leverage to author herself(s)? (b) How, if it all, do 5th grade Latinas leverage identity resources from school science, after school science activities, and at home in science-related activities? (c) How, and under which conditions, does the identity resources support girls to author herself(s) in science? Employing an ethnographic case study approach, we followed three fifth grade Latinas for 4 months across science classrooms, an afterschool computer science club, and family school events. All three girls attended the same elementary school in Southern California with a 98.9% low income Hispanic student population. Their teacher ran an afterschool computer science club and strongly advocated the girls’ access and learning of science and engineering. Data includes a) field notes from 51 hours of observation, b) videos from the science classroom, c) audio taped interviews with the girls and teachers, d) informal conversations with parents, and e) science identity artifacts and surveys. Critical events were identified and analyzed focusing on a) types and source of resources leveraged for identity work b) mechanism of legitimization and action of resources in identity work. The analyses show different types of identity resources including the girls’ home-based experiences (e.g., playing with computers, drawing), school science activities (e.g., online quizzes), public recognition (e.g., reading awards). Girls’ experiences in one setting became identity resources in another setting as they engaged in activities that are relatable.