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When Institutionalized Discourses Become Familial: Mexican Immigrant Families Interpreting and Enacting High Stakes Educational Reform


With a blend of case study and Language Socialization research, this 2-year ethnographic study explores the ways in which four Mexican immigrant families with a child in middle school navigated the U.S. public school system during a time of increased educational reform. With a combination of participant and direct observation within homes and schools, video-recordings of dinnertime talk, audio-recordings of parent narratives, semi-structured interviews with focal families and school officials, and text-based artifact analysis, this study traces the educational discourses that enter family talk to reveal the ways in which focal parents and students use educationally-based language to demonstrate their understanding of the school system, educational practices, and their roles in the business of doing school.

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