chapter  2
19 Pages

The Proverbial Monkey on Our Backs: Exploring the Politics of Belonging among Transnational African High School Students in the US


This chapter explores the mainstream educational system and highlights how changes in federal policy gave students, families, and institutions the opportunity to make space for heritage language learning. It examines the link between the shift in motivation and the position of the Japanese language in the mainstream US educational system. The chapter offers that educational language policies play significant roles in creating a sociocultural context that provides individuals with various ethnic backgrounds the space for heritage language maintenance, a space-making practice which helped motivate students to continue learning the language. Doerr performs the participant observation, conducted most of the interviews, and analyzed the data. Lee handles permissions on Jackson Japanese Language School (JJLS) and provided the analysis with critical feedback. The chapter concerns that how the Japanese languages status and the potential benefits of knowing it within the mainstream American educational system affected students motivation to continue their language study during middle and high school years.