New life style brings new literacy practices for a Korean immigrant family in Canada

Principal Investigator:
University of British Columbia

The purpose of this study was to explore changes in a Korean immigrant family's literacy practices due to their life changes after immigration. In particular, languages, media, domains, and purposes of literacy in Canada and in Korea were focused upon and compared. This study was conducted using a case study method. Data was collected by semi-structured interviews, home visit observations, a questionnaire for demographic information and a collection of literacy artifacts. The results showed that Su-Young's literacy practices in Canada are mostly centered around family contexts, and her literacy practices have changed in terms of languages, media, domains, and purposes of literacy after immigration. Even though the number of immigrants is increasing in Canada, these immigrant families' literacy practices have not been studied sufficiently (Orellana, Reynolds, Dorner & Meza, 2003; Wason-Ellam, 2001). Thus, this study will lead to an increased understanding of immigrant families' literacy practices after immigration. These insights will help educators to reflect immigrant students' outside - of - school literacy practice in those students' school literacy which will provide them more meaningful literacy learning at school.

This case study was conducted to examine a recent Korean immigrant family's literacy practices. The family came to Canada so that their children could learn English and have an education within a more student - centered school curriculum. Su-Young, came to Canada with her two young sons but without her husband. Her husband remained in Korea because the source of his income is located there. He visits the family about two to three times a year. In the last five years, many families in Korea have gone abroad for their children's education, especially to learn English and to be exposed to a student-centered curriculum. Because those families' sources of income often are in Korea, the fathers mostly remain in Korea while the rest of the family members go to English - language - based countries such as the USA, Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand and so on. As the number of those families has increased, it is considered a social phenomenon of some importance in Korea. Thus, those families are called, 'Gee-Ru-Gi' (goose) families, because the fathers can visit and meet their wives and children only once or twice a year, which is similar to a goose's annual migration. The mothers of those families often face a new life style due to immigration and the absence of their husbands.


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