Recent Publications

Michalovich, A.Kendrick, M., & Early, M. (forthcoming in 2022). “Youth from refugee backgrounds positioning their identities through reaction videos”. A research article accepted for publication in the Journal of Language, Identity & Education.

Abstract: This ethnographic, qualitative case study empirically explores how six youth from refugee backgrounds positioned their identities through design choices in producing reaction videos—a popular YouTube genre—at school in their settlement context. Through reflexive thematic analysis, we identified three ways in which youth took ownership of how they were to be perceived by their classmates and teachers, establishing their identities in the classroom through: (1) knowledge brokering; (2) navigating gaze; and (3) playfully disrupting cohesion. The study makes a timely contribution to helping language and literacy researchers, educators, and teacher-educators better understand how digitally composing in YouTube genres such as reaction videos can be used to affirm the identities of youth from refugee backgrounds in school settings.

Kendrick, M., Early, M., Michalovich, A, & Mangat, M. (2022). “Digital storytelling with refugee background youth: Possibilities for language and digital literacies learning”. TESOL Quarterly. 56(3), 961-984.

Abstract: This study addresses the urgent need to develop innovative pedagogies that build upon and enhance the digital literacies and representational practices of culturally and linguistically diverse youth from refugee backgrounds. In Canadian high schools, this population of students enter school with varying levels of literacy in their first language(s), as well as potentially difficult experiences due to their forced migration. For many, learning English, may become a formidable challenge. A growing corpus of case studies is beginning to show how pedagogies that draw on youths’ everyday meaning making, including their digital literacies, can effectively engage English learners in academic learning. In this qualitative, ethnographic case study involving nine youth in an English language learning classroom, we addressed the question: What is the potential for digital storytelling to draw from the fuller context of the lives and literacies of youth from refugee backgrounds to enable more autonomous language learning and identity affirmation? Our study is informed by interrelated conceptual frameworks: learner autonomy; investment in language and literacy learning; and digital literacies. Using thematic and multimodal/visual analysis, data were collaboratively coded to identify four interweaving themes: 1) use of multimodal meaning making to communicate complex, critical understandings; 2) emergence of digital literacies; 3) challenges of communicating in digital spaces; and 4) investment in identity affirmation in language.

Ferreira, J., Kendrick, M., & Early, M. (2022). Migrant and refugee background students learning through play. The Reading Teacher, 75(4), 453-462. 

Abstract: With the unprecedented increase of forced displacement in recent years, there has been a growing concern with how children from migrant and refugee backgrounds adjust to resettlement in Western schools. Adopting a sociocultural approach to science education, the authors explore how scientific concepts related to the water cycle and practices such as modelling are realized multimodally through play. By means of two constructive and imaginative play activities, block building and scrapbook making, illustrative examples showcase how four children from migrant and refugee backgrounds repurposed various multimodal resources to make sense of scientific concepts, use scientific language, and problem solve in relation to their life experiences beyond the classroom. Implications encourage teachers to consider designing content-area language instruction infused with play-based activities to give rise to alternative avenues through which emerging bi/multilingual learners can take risks, be engaged cognitively, and apply their new knowledge creatively.

Ferreira, J., Kendrick, M., & Panangamu, S. (2022) Storytelling through block play: Imagining identities and creative citizenship. Literacy, 56(1), 29–39. 

Abstract: In 2021, more than 80 million people worldwide will have been forced to flee their homes. Upon arrival in their new country, families may endure numerous hardships, yet succumbing to these challenges is not their single story. To understand how migrant-background and refugee-background children imagine more liveable futures beyond social and education barriers, financial stress and unresolved emotional issues, our study focuses on the stories that 8- to 10-year-old learners created while playing with building toys and stacking blocks in a Canadian elementary school. Drawing on the interconnected frameworks of story-telling, identity, creative citizenship and play-based pedagogies, our case study of 11 students illustrates that, in response to an invitation to support their real or imagined communities, learners engaged in literacy practices, built on their lived experiences and imagined strong identities to create stories of social responsibility and awareness, emphasising the human needs of securing food and fresh water, ensuring safety, and connecting and caring for the community. Our findings may encourage teachers to consider play-based storytelling to address out-of-school social factors in their classrooms and to capitalise on students’ inquiries to design interdisciplinary projects that can develop students’ literacies and promote social activism.

Michalovich, A. (2021). “Digital media production of refugee-background youth: A scoping review”. Journalism and Media2(1), 30-50

Abstract: Reviews of research have provided insights into the digital media production practices of youth in and out of school. Although such practices hold promise for the language and literacy education of refugee-background youth, no review has yet integrated findings across studies and different digital media production practices to explore this promise. This scoping review summarizes and discusses the key findings from research on varied types of digital media produced specifically by refugee-background youth in and out of school. It situates digital media production practices in the context of this diverse population, which experiences forced migration, and highlights 5 main themes from findings in 42 reviewed articles. Digital media production afforded refugee-background youth: (1) Ownership of representations across time and space; (2) opportunity to expand, strengthen, or maintain social networks; (3) identity work; (4) visibility and engagement with audiences; and (5) communication and embodied learning through multimodal literacies.

Michalovich, A. (2021). “’You’re the boss, yo!’: Role-play in digital multimodal composition of newcomer youth”. Language and Literacy23(1), 25-48.

Abstract: This case study explores how two 16-year-old newcomer youth in a Canadian secondary school navigated the digital multimodal composition process through role-play in their first digital video production at school. Employing a qualitative, case-study design, the study shows how the youth playfully accentuated collaborative over coercive power relations, as well as repositioned and represented their imagined identities as they played different assigned roles in the filmmaking process. The implications of these findings are discussed for educators and researchers considering digital multimodal composition as a classroom literacy practice.

This website showcases a research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Insight Grant no. 435–2017-0338). The study has been reviewed by the UBC Behavioral Research Ethics Board (Certificate no. H17-01074), and the procedures were found to be acceptable on ethical grounds for research involving human subjects.

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