Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2010

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2010 Benjamin E. Rachbach. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Asian Studies Program, Educational Studies Department

First Advisor

Lisa Smulyan

Second Advisor

Alan Berkowitz


Beijing's migrant schools are cheap private schools for the children of rural-to-urban migrants who are excluded from public schools. Ethnographic observations and interviews in migrant schools lead to analysis ofthe local meanings of the global/national model of school in the schools. Because oftheir marginalized status in the city's educational system and the mobility oftheir student and teacher populations, they face challenges in Chinese and English language and literacy education such as the inability to retain teachers, constant movement of students with widely varying backgrounds in and out of the school, and low student engagement in English classes. A preliminary study using educational video games helped show that information and communications technology can extend migrant school strategies to address the challenges in literacy education. However, the challenges will never be completely overcome until the larger social and educational structures that marginalize migrant students and schools change.


Recipient of the Alice L. Crossley Prize in Asian Studies, first prize, awarded in 2011