Co-Creating a Curriculum Journey: A Participatory Exploration of how Zimbabwean Immigrant Youth in an Urban Alberta Community Negotiate Liminality in their Lived Experiences

  • Author / Creator
    Masimira, Mildred T
  • Many people have told stories concerning their experiences as immigrants in diaspora communities (Trueba & Bartolomé, 2000). Many of these stories tell of unimaginable hardships, strife, pain as well as joy as immigrants settle into the host country. The diaspora literature in Canada has not adequately documented research on immigrant youth from their point of view. More so, research on Zimbabwean immigrant youth is non-existent. This study seeks to understand immigrant life journeys of Zimbabwean youth with a focus on the “liminal” qualities of their experiences. A significant number of researchers (Gennep, 1960; Turner, 1967; and more recently Anzaldúa, 2000; Bhabha, 1994; Ledgister, 2001; Bannerji, 2000) have discussed liminality as a phase that everyone encounters at different points in life. In the summer of 2014, six immigrant youth from Zimbabwe, all residing in Alberta, agreed to take part in a participatory research study that explored this main question: What implications does conceptualizing Zimbabwean immigrant youth experiences as liminal, through the collaborative creation of a curriculum artefact, have for understanding immigrant youth experiences and how can this process contribute to the youths’ ongoing negotiation of their experiences? I wondered: Will the youth understand their experiences as liminal? What curriculum artefact will the youth create with me? How do youth negotiate their experiences and how has the participatory research process aided in their curriculum journeys? Focus groups (Kitzinger, 2004) and interviews (Creswell, 2007) engaged youth in discussions to explore their understanding of their own identities as immigrants, thereby creating a space where they could effectively negotiate liminality. The participants engaged in a total of seven focus groups along with one individual interview each. The culmination of the study, based on youths’ interests and what they identified as important, congruent with participatory research sensibilities, was the creation of a curriculum artefact in the form of an e-handbook. The purpose of the artefact was to articulate information about life in Canada to prospective immigrant youth. Study findings indicated that the research participants identified with the concept of liminality as it manifests in their daily life experiences. They articulated liminal experiences through three themes that emerged from our discussions: parent-child tensions, language, and foreign credentials/professional upgrades. Findings also included the ways in which youth negotiated their experiences of liminality. This study adds to the body of literature on youth immigration and education, with specific emphasis on Zimbabwean immigrant youth experiences conceptualized as liminal.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Secondary Education
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Dr. Dwayne Donald (Secondary Education)
    • Dr. Diane Conrad (Secondary Education)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Dr David Smith (Secondary Education)
    • Dr. Lynette Shultz (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Dr. Dwayne Donald (Secondary Education
    • Dr Rahat Naqvi (Faculty of Education)
    • Dr. Diane Conrad (Secondary Education)
    • Dr. Olenka Bilash (Secondary Education)