Sampling an Inner DJ with Hip Hop Hopes: (Re)Writing Immigrant Identities for English Language Learners in Classroom Third Spaces

Andrew Habana Hafner


This study explores theoretical and pedagogical implications of hip hop culture in (re)negotiating identity for immigrant English Language Learners (ELLs) in secondary writing classrooms. Analysis focuses on how spoken and written language and discourse shape the production of third spaces in ways that (re)negotiate immigrant student identity in the ELL writing classroom. The theoretical framework draws on constructs of social space to reconsider the production of third space in an intermediate ELL writing classroom designed around developing academic and critical literacy grounded in the lived experiences of oppression of immigrant youth. Methods of ethnography and critical discourse analysis of critical spatial events and classroom texts center on a focal immigration unit in which students compose and share immigration narratives. Findings from ethnographic case study of one immigrant Latino male who aspires to become a hip hop DJ illustrate how hip hop discourses frame the chronotope of immigration and represent a classroom third space that promotes academic and critical literacy. This study draws implications for hip hop culture as valuable to curriculum and instruction rooted in the lived spaces of immigrant youth experience and for critical reflective practice for educators.

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