Cross-Cultural Perceptions of Literacies in Literacy Narratives
Although literacy narratives have been a popular assignment in college composition classrooms, the role of context and interaction in students’ writing and understanding of literacy is one of the least explored areas. This article reports the findings of a qualitative case study conducted in a regular first year composition class (English 101) of a public research university in the Southwest. The data is comprised of fifteen literacy narratives accompanied by reflective letters written by a group of English monolingual and bi- and multilingual students; transcripts of nine personal interviews; and twelve one-on-one conferences that were coded and analyzed using a combination of inductive, deductive, and literal or verbatim coding methods mostly informed by grounded theory. The findings show that a literacy narrative assignment in college writing can foster a complex understanding of literacies among student writers. When we adopt a translingual orientation to literacy, encourage cross-cultural conversations through various collaborative activities and diverse readings, and emphasize the role of little narratives to resist the master narrative of literacy, both English monolingual and bi- and multilingual students mutually enrich their understanding of literacies. In this process, the writing classroom becomes borderland and the instructor and students become border crossers.
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