Cultural and Social Perspectives of
Lao Adolescents: Developing Voices Through Writing
San Francisco State University, USA
The purpose of this study was to investigate how Lao-American adolescents become skilled readers and writers while developing their sense of ethnic identity and personal voice. This study examines the issues of empowerment, family, race, poverty, inequities, and voices through dialogue, guided questions, and the process of writing.
Out of the ten students who initially participated in the study, there were only three girls who completed the study. Through the dialogue and writings of these three girls and the researcherís field notes, the researcher collected data to demonstrate how the issues of empowerment, family, race, poverty, inequities and voices make it difficult for them to be part of the mainstream academic community.
During the nine weeks of writing sessions, the three Lao-American adolescents shared their perspectives on the academic, social, and cultural life. By sharing their perspectives with one another, the students were able to develop their sense of ethnic identity and personal voice. Even though the writing process was a major obstacle for the students, their writings revealed common themes related to family, community, isolation, loneliness, race, and poverty.