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Our study examines the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on everyday family life and learning in a diverse cross-section of U.S. households.

We probe how social, health and educational needs are negotiated within each household, and what is being learned. Both within and across households, we will analyze how social positioning along various axes of difference (gender, generation/age, social class/employment, local context, language and immigration status) and access to different resources shape responses to and experiences with this crisis.

Our research questions are:

1.         How are everyday household routines affected by the pandemic, and what are family members learning from these re-arrangements?

2.         How are families managing the continuation of children’s education, even as they negotiate other demands (e.g. for employment, health and well-being)?

3.         What differences are found both within and across households?

a.         How are experiences shaped by households’ access to material resources and other forms of social, cultural, and linguistic capital?

b.         How are experiences shaped by positions within a family or household (age, gender)?

4.         What lessons are families taking from the pandemic for their plans, hopes, and visions of the future?

We ask each member of the household over age 12 to keep an individual or collective diary of their choice: written, voice-recorded, or multi-modal. Twice weekly during the current phase of the pandemic (from May through July), participants will be sent guiding questions for their diary entries. These will focus on everyday living experiences during the pandemic. We’ll also conduct two rounds of in-depth interviews (one in Fall 2020; the other in Spring 2021) with participants, looking back on this experience from different points in time. The interviews will invite families’ reflections on the pandemic, and on our analyses of their diary entries.


Who We Are


Dr. Marjorie Faulstich Orellana is Professor of Education at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her work focuses on the experiences of the children of immigrants in households and informal learning environments, especially as language and culture brokers for their families. Her latest book is Mindful Ethnography: Mind, Heart and Activity for Transformative Social Research (Routledge, 2019). You can learn more about Marjorie's work hereMarjorie acts as PI on the project. 

Twitter: @Marjelaine

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Lu (Priscilla) Liu is a PhD Candidate in the Social Research Methodology Division of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on language policy and planning, language socialization, and the ethnographic study of education, with a geographical focus on the US and China. She is particularly interested in family language policy and heritage language maintenance.

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Sophia L. Ángeles is a PhD Candidate in the Urban Schooling Division of the Department of Education at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her current research examines the experiences of recently arrived immigrant youth in high school and their access to college and career readiness opportunities.

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