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acculturation;autoethnography;identity development;multicultural background;multilingual background


Geri Salinitri



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


ABSTRACT The purpose of this research was to uncover my lived experiences that spanned two continents and four countries involving acculturation and subsequent re-acculturation. I have employed autoethnography to shed light on my experiences as an English Language Learner (ELL) in various linguistic, cultural and social environments while living, studying and working in Canada and the United States. I relied on rich narratives (Richardson, 2000) in the form of personal vignettes followed by intricate analysis and interpretation (Chang, 2008) to provide a layered account of my participation in different communities of practice (Wenger, 1998). The Methodology section presents an in depth portrayal of my deep reflexivity and constant dialoguing with my personal journal entries, vignettes, and additional data in the form of memoirs, autobiographies, and various life writings, as well as personal documents and artifacts that helped data triangulation. I also explored and included empirical literature that focused on autoethnography as a form of inquiry enabling me to connect and resonate with readers through various narrative expressions (Chang, 2008). The three main themes that emerged through illuminating my lived experiences in varied linguistic, cultural and social settings focus on my journey of learning to belong; Belonging through learning and academic achievements, Belonging through professional and educational constructs, and Belonging through multisensorial experiences. I employed Coelho’s (2016) acculturation framework to better understand my personal growth and Wenger’s (1998) social theory of learning to uncover my multiple social identities reflecting my diverse linguistic and cultural background. As a result, I could trace my steps of acculturation and uncovered the four tenets of my theory of belonging; Embracing my surroundings, Seeking out mentors, Active participation in all communities of practice, and Coming to terms with my multiple social identities. This study aims to resonate with audiences of adult ELLs who might uncover their strengths to best move forward and to achieve their dreams that help them feel academically grounded and as contributing members in various communities of practice. However, the circle of readers might be extended to both linguistically and culturally diverse educators as well as monolingual teachers who wish to become mentors and role models to those minority students who need to encounter strong individuals believing in them, so they can dare to hope and dream just like their classmates who are firmly grounded in their linguistic and cultural knowledge.

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