Citizenship in Interaction: A Comparative Case Study of Civic and Linguistic Experiences in Multicultural Schools in Costa Rica and the United States Open Access

Solano-Campos, Ana Tristana (2014)

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In their everyday interactions at school, students in multicultural classrooms build civic and linguistic knowledge and skills to participate in increasingly diverse societies. Recognizing the role of schooling to shape children and youth's abilities for active participation in multicultural societies, nations around the world have worked to acknowledge students' diverse backgrounds in education policy and curriculum. In the Americas, Anglo-American multiculturalism and Latin American interculturalidad are two of the models of diversity that permeate efforts to address difference and promote national cohesion. Alongside these models of diversity, each country's particular history contributes to the creation of unique narratives about who is considered a citizen and about the characteristics of an "ideal" citizen.

By comparatively looking at two top migrant destination countries in the Americas--the United States illustrating multiculturalism and Costa Rica illustrating interculturalidad--I set out to explore how these distinct models of diversity, and the statal narratives that accompany them, promote different civic and linguistic outlooks and abilities in students. Using critical sociocultural theory and the framework of statal narratives, I examined classroom dynamics embedded in larger cultural narratives in one multicultural fourth grade classroom in each country. Through document analysis, ethnographic observations, interviews, and focus groups, I explored the ways in which students' constructions of language and citizenship appropriated, contested, or perpetuated each country's approach to difference.

Findings indicated that the children's understandings of citizenship and language aligned with statal narratives that encouraged nation-centered approaches and promoted ideologies of linguistic deficit. Children's constructions of citizenship were located along a citizenship continuum and their practices of citizenship varied across structured, guided, and monitored school spaces. I also identified linguistic ideologies that systematically excluded and compartmentalized the repertoires of students from different linguistic backgrounds. In all of these contexts, teachers and children also found opportunities to interrogate and resist dominant narratives and used strategies and resources to construct citizenship and language in interaction with each other.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Statement of the Problem 1

Purpose of the Study 2

Research Questions 3

Theoretical Framework 4

Critical Sociocultural Theory 5

Intercultural Viewpoints 7

Narrative Perspectives 8

Significance of the Study 9

Definition of Terms 10

Chapter 2: Literature Review 18

Children as Citizens 18

Citizenship and National Affiliations 20

Comparative Perspectives of Citizenship and Civic Education 24

Comparative Studies in Latin American Countries 29

Scholarship in Intercultural Citizenship 32

Cross-Border Dynamics and Education 33

Chapter 3: Methodology 40

National Contexts 40

Structure of Schooling 42

Immigration Patterns 44

Research Sites 45

Escuela Montaña Verde 45

River Song Elementary 47

Participants 49

Data Sources 52

Documents 52

Fieldnotes 56

Focus Groups 57

Individual Interviews 58

Researcher's Log 59

Data Analysis 59

Content Analysis 59

Constructivist Grounded Theory 60

Triangulation 61

Researcher's Positionality 62

A Note on Translation, Terminology, and Conventions 63

Chapter 4: Extranjero and Immigrant, National Narratives of Difference 66

The Myth of Costa Rican Exceptionalit 67

No Tengo Extranjeros: Deficit Perspectives and Teacher Mistrust 70

Interculturalidad: Colonial Past and Liberatory Hope 73

Entreculturas: Continuties and Discontinuities in the Costa Rican Narrative 75

La inclusividad lo es todo: Teacher Infiltration and Resistance 80

A los de Nicaragua les dicen Nicas 83

The United States: A Land of Freedom 88

The Multiculturalist Turn 90

Neoliberalism, Civics, and the Nation 94

Embracing Global Visions, Facing Nation-Centered Realities 97

International and Global Narratives 97

State Standards 99

Chapter 5: Every day and Everywhere Constructions of Citizenship 103

The Citizenship Continuum 103

EMV: Everyday Citizenship 108

Ecologies of exclusion at EMV 109

Performing citizenship 111

Actos cívicos 112

Negotiating decisions and action 114

Current Events 116

Mejengas 117

RSE: Citizenship as Expression 122

Standardized Test Rally 123

Friday Talent Shows 124

Micropolitics in action 125

Sites of Citizenship Learning 126

Chapter 6: Linguicism and Linguistic Duality, the Exclusion and

Compartmentalization of Language 131

Con la lengua que se me enreda: Language Ideologies at EMV 132

Branding: A Semantic Device for Exclusion 136

Linguistic Dualities and English Dominance at RSE 140

Language Ownership 142

Linguistic Compartmentalization 143

The Dominance of English 148

Chapter 7: Discussion 153

Understandings of Citizenship and Language 155

Performances of Citizenship and Language 155

Narratives about Citizenship and Language 157

Positions and Dispositions towards Statal Narratives 158

Implications for Citizenship Education 159

Implications for Language Education 164

Concluding Remarks 169

References 171

Appendices 206

Appendix A: Observation Guide 207

Appendix B: Focus Group Interview Protocol 208

Appendix C: Student Interview Protocol 209

Appendix D: Teacher Interview Protocol 210

Appendix E: Costa Rican Statal Narratives 211

Appendix F: United States Statal Narratives 213

Appendix G: Costa Rican Social Studies Program 215

Appendix H: State Performance Standards for Fourth Grade Social Studies 216

Tables 41

Table 1: Contextual Considerations 41

Table 2: Country Demographics 41

Table 3: Classroom Schedule at EMV 48

Table 4: Classroom Schedule at RSE 50

Table 5: Participating Students at Escuela Montaña Verde 51

Table 6: Participating Students at River Song Elementary 51

Table 7: Methodology 53

Table 8: Analysis of Statal Narratives 61

Table 9: The Citizenship Continuum 105

Table 10: Static Citizenship Traits 106

Table 11: Dynamic Citizenship Traits 107

Table 12: Structured, Guided, and Monitored Sites in EMV and RSE 127

Table 13: Student Responsibilities in Each School 128

Table 14: Constructions of Citizenship at EMV and RSE 130

Table 15: Language Ideologies 131

Table 16: RSE Students' Languages and Language Choice 143

Table 17: Research Questions and Findings Matrix 154

Figures 3

Figure 1: Domains of Study Addressed by Research Questions 3

Figure 2: Theoretical Perspectives 4

Figure 3: Documents Costa Rican Case 54

Figure 4: Documents United States Case 55

Figure 5: Data Analysis Process 60

Figure 6: The Costa Rican Citizen 80

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