Canada has witnessed drastic increase of a unique group of families with transnational living arrangements, who engage in simultaneous negotiations of multiple sets of social relationships, schooling, and language practices transcending boundaries between Canada and China. Past studies have not explored how such transnational living arrangements have impacted family language policy and parenting strategies. This presentation reports a part of a large-scale study on family linguistic investment policies and parenting strategies among over 100 transnational Chinese families with young and adolescent children studying in Canada. Framed under Bourdieu’s (1986, 1991) field-capital-habitus lens, the findings revealed that the families transnational living was an educational strategy for their children to get a western education and the families leveraged their own financial and social capital to support their children in acquiring English and achieving academically in school. Their traditional parenting habitus brought from home, however, has served as barrier in their children’s pathways toward multi/bilingualism. The presentation will conclude with implications for family language policy and advocacy to counter the prevalent linguistic hierarchy.
Dr. Guofang Li is a Professor and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Transnational/Global Perspectives of Language and Literacy Education of Children and Youth in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, University of British Columbia, Canada. Her program of research, funded by SSHRC and other agencies, aims to improve the life success of immigrant and minority students by addressing the cultural, linguistic, instructional, and structural barriers in their literacy learning and academic achievement both in school and at home, pre- and in-service teacher preparation, and current language and educational policy and practice in globalized contexts. Li has published 14 books and about 200 journal articles and book chapters in English and Chinese, and presented over 200 papers worldwide. Her work and contribution has been recognized by numerous national and international awards including the 2016 Mid-Career Award from the Second Language Research Special Interest Group (SIG), American Educational Research Association (AERA), the 2013 and 2006 Ed Fry Book Award of the Literary Research Association (LRA), the 2010 AERA Early Career Award, and the 2008 Social Context of Education Division Early Career Award of AERA. Her recent books include Superdiversity and Teacher Education (in press with Routledge), Languages, identities, power and cross-cultural pedagogies in transnational literacy education (2019, Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press), and Educating Chinese-heritage students in the global-local nexus: Identities, challenges, and opportunities (2017, Routledge). Li is co-editor of Journal of Literacy Research and serves as an editorial board member and reviewer of many key language and literacy journals such as Reading Research Quarterly, Research into Teaching of English, TESOL Quarterly, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Bilingual Education Journal, and Language Arts; and other general education journals such as American Educational Research Journal, Journal of Family Diversity in Education, Journal of Teacher Education, Journal of Teaching and Teacher Education, Early Childhood Literacy Quarterly, and Canadian Journal of Education.