Using language portraits as an innovative, multimodal approach to investigate students’ biographies, this chapter captures cognitive migration through language and showcases multifaceted, heteroglossic linguistic repertoires. It argues that language is not only employed when migrating across physical space, but also on a cognitive or internal level within one’s body, connecting specific body parts with linguistic resources and experiences. Given the monolingual standards imposed by most education institutions, (minority language) speakers seldom have the possibility to express their multiple voices or (linguistic) identities fully and are therefore disadvantaged. Language portraits can help visualize everyone’s potential and increase understanding and appreciation of inclusive, equitable multilingual education without language hierarchies.
This chapter highlights the experiences of newcomer migrant youth in an urban community in the United States. The authors theorize a lived curriculum of belonging – rooted in the experiences, activities, and transnational experiences of newcomers – positing that the texture and effect of their border stories, trauma, and sense of solidarity among each other informs the pedagogical aspects of their learning and sense of belonging. The authors argue that the newcomers in the project are critical actors in educational processes and practices. In order to capture their experience, methodologically, the researchers focused on youth-generated artifacts to draw out emotions, desires, and perspectives. Elicitation of these artifacts, and other forms of expression, was pertinent in this study of youth belonging as it allowed for the complexities of youth identity to be centered and addressed. From the multi-methods, we argue that our positioning of the curricular space as a critical encounter is a methodological innovation made possible by centering youth voices and experiences.
Calling to mind Massey’s (1998) critique that social theory privileges “a hegemony of temporal sequence” (p. 21) at the expense of spatial frames that assert multiplicity, difference, and potential, this chapter outlines the use of ecomaps as a method to examine the relational spaces of im/migrants. More specifically, I share my reflections on the methodological possibilities, limitations, tensions, and questions that emerged from a research study I conducted with im/migrant K-12 Latinx teachers in South Carolina where they mapped the interactions and interrelations that (re)made the spaces they traveled. This chapter is significant for three reasons: (1) the need in education research generally, but migration/education specifically, for new(er) methods rooted in relational spatial thinking, (2) the introduction of ecomapping into critical educational literature, and (3) the addition of greater nuance to migration and education scholarship about the U.S. South by thinking through im/migrant teachers in addition to students and other stakeholders.
This chapter explores a tension in research between a move toward making new ways of knowing and being legible in educational research and the simultaneous practices of governance that accompany this visibility. Taking up reflections from a larger ethnographic project, I outline refusal, incompleteness, and speculation as three strategies in research and everyday life that resist governance while pushing for a decolonial form of legibility. In doing so, the chapter argues for a more intentional use of decolonization in research methodologies as a way for researchers to resist the manners in which the research process and the use of research can further exclusion and dominance.
Existing methodologies for researching the lives of young people affected by migration have thus far oversimplified their physical mobility by focusing solely on their first international migration or that of their parents. However, previous research shows that migrant youth are mobile and that mobility plays an important role in their lives. This chapter presents mobility trajectory mapping as a methodological tool to record and study these varied mobility trajectories of migrant-background youth. Mapping trajectories allows researchers to employ a youth-centric and transnational lens by involving young people in the co-creation of knowledge about their experiences of moving between places, and by learning about the meanings they attribute to these experiences. This chapter presents our experiences in developing and implementing this method with 183 Ghanaian-background young people in Ghana, Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands as part of the multi-sited, interdisciplinary research project “Mobility Trajectories of Young Lives (MO-TRAYL).” By discussing methodological advantages of mobility trajectory mapping and presenting analytical insights into the nature of transnational youth mobility that it facilitates, we show that mobility trajectory mapping offers an alternative way to research migrant-background youth with potentially deep repercussions for how we understand their transnational lives.
Research team membership should be understood as a prospective dimension of research design. When the phenomenon to be examined is pluri-national – i.e., involving more than one country – as has been our case for more than two-decades of consideration of the educations of transnationally mobile children and youth, it follows that much can be gained by organizing a research team that is also pluri-national. Here, we suggest ways that our team’s border spanning composition has supported our efforts to pursue empirical questions, like who, where, and how many. It has also allowed us to consider perception questions regarding how transnational students made sense of their various schools and how they were viewed by others in them. Finally, it has allowed us to consider what the school systems that transnational students negotiate want them to know/learn versus what knowledge, orientations, and skills might be most circumstantially advantageous.
This chapter will discuss the importance of bringing testimonios and voices of asylum-seeking families impacted by border policies front and center to tell their truth(s). Through a long-term, relational project of accompaniment and activism alongside migrant families impacted by violent immigration policies, we seek to reflect on the role of engaging in research deeply connected and committed to the well-being of migrant families. This work highlights the experiences of the activist research we have been undertaking at the Southern border since 2018 to build community with, advocate for, and gather testimonios from families impacted by immigration detention and those forced to endure the traumatic Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP), also known as Remain in Mexico, a policy that has stranded 70,000 families at the US/Mexico Border (Mukpo, 2020).
Pulling from feminist critiques of positivist research (Nagar, 2014) and Abrego’s (2020) framework of research as accompaniment, we insert activist research as a continued form of accompaniment, activist accompaniment, embracing the relational importance of research as accompaniment. Goals of this chapter focus on both the critical importance of amplifying and centering testimonios of those impacted by migration and inhumane immigration policies while understanding activist accompaniment as a significant humane approach to migrant research.
Migration studies often focus on top-down views of national and state governance integration and assimilation efforts for refugee families, and there is a glaring need for studies that center the voices and experiences of refugee families and children themselves, especially those being resettled in small-scale U.S. cities. An increasing number of refugees are being resettled in cities and attending urban schools that have been historically populated by poor, racial minorities, and disenfranchised populations. How newly arriving Syrian refugee families are negotiating their place in racial hierarchy/ies, relative to the native-born and immigrant populations with their own histories of oppression and political resistance, speaks to an important narrative about changing demographics and race relations.
In order to address this gap, this study will examine the day-to-day experiences and sense of belonging of a group of Syrian refugees recently resettled in the small city of Elizabeth, New Jersey, using a multimethod case study design. The research draws from and integrates multiple types and levels of data and analysis – historical archives, census data, in-depth interviews, and GIS mapping. It investigates how particularities of these “small-scale city spaces” with their own distinctive migration histories, local politics, and changing demographics, serve as important sites of interaction and resistance for refugee families and their children. Using school systems and assignments to demonstrate belonging and intergroup relations, this study reveals how a group of Syrian refugee parents drew from both practical and symbolic resources – a process that included building coalition across racial and ethnic boundaries towards garnering political and social capital for their children.