Language Socialization: A Case Study of Young Returned Migrants in the Mexican Public Education System on the U.S.- Mexican Border

Nancy Gissela Reyes Parra & Jitka Crhová, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (Autonomous University of Baja California), Facultad de Idiomas (Faculty of Languages), Tijuana, Mexico;      Abstract: Currently, more Mexicans return from the United States than those who actually migrate there (Jacobo & Cárdenas, 2020). Returnees, both voluntary and involuntary, re(integrate) into Mexican society, which also includes children and young people who insert into the local educational system, often without previously spending a single day of formal instruction in Spanish. The above mentioned represents a problem in terms of language socialization, especially when those students enter the public educational system, where all the instruction, except the English classes, is carried out in Spanish. Consequently, the research intends to answer the following question:  How is language socialization in young returned migrants during the last stage of their basic education? For that reason, a theoretical revision has been made to understand the main concepts, such as language acquisition and language socialization in the U.S.- Mexican border context of migration, presenting the case study of five young students who enrolled in secondary school. The methodological design follows a qualitative longitudinal paradigm of ethnographic research with the synchronic dimension. The fieldwork methods used are interviews with students, their parents, their teachers, and the advisors we provided for them to support their learning. Furthermore, we observed the classroom interaction, focusing namely on turn-taking in classes and corrective feedback they receive during the online classes of Spanish and English in order to compare the language socialization in each of those given settings. The research concludes with some observations on the lack of language socialization of the returnees who are often silent, due to numerous problems, such as the lack of vocabulary in Spanish, and who frequently avoid classes or if they participate, their turns are scarce. The gathered information allows us to see that the integration of the young returnees into the Mexican public school is quite complex, and even more in the times of COVID-19.

KEYWORDS: Language Socialization, Return Migration, Classroom interaction, Online classes



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