A case study of Korean American adolescents' identity construction through literacy practices on the Internet

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Ok, Hyounjin

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The purpose of this study was to provide a clearer understanding of current Korean American adolescents under the recognition that their stories are barely told in educational research. Based on the literature that has described identity as a core concept in understanding adolescence and literacy practice as a dominant tool for identity construction, this study focused on Korean American adolescents' identity construction through their self-directed Internet literacy practices. Four Korean American adolescents living in a mid-size city in the Southwest participated in this study for several months. Data sources included face-to-face interviews, literacy practice logs, participants' literacy products on the Internet, online chat logs, and emails. Collected data were analyzed based on the constant comparative method. Results showed that these youth are active meaning makers with agency, that they constructed multiple, fluid identities within their sociocultural context, and utilized the Internet to stage these identities strategically. The result of this study implies a successful pedagogy needs to begin with careful consideration of each student's changeability and complexity by removing the labels imposed on them related to their ethnicity, race, gender, class, and so forth. This study also implies that literacy researchers' contribution, as messengers of adolescents' literacy practices outside of school, is critical for the a clearer understanding of adolescents. Finally, this study suggests that Korean American community take more interest in diverse voices among Korean American adolescents in the era of globalization.



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