Published on September 14, 2014
Literacy Event . My mother trades daily as long as the US market is open. The entire trading process can take between 1 to 3 hours. In this issue, I study her trading process from the preparation process before the market opens to the completion of her first trade of the day. Research question . The research questions stem from two main points: 1) My mother’s primary discourse is Mandarin. However, she made the decision to attend the trading course which was conducted in English because she felt that her previous experiences at Mandarin trading courses were unbeneficial. 2) Trading often involves a high degree of computer literacy due to the need to utilize relatively complex trading platforms. However, my mother has limited computer abilities and often requires help for basic tasks such as emails, printing, Microsoft Office. I hope to develop an understanding of how mother engages in her trading activities, especially given the knowledge gaps between what trading seems to require (e.g. command of English, computer abilities) and the background knowledge my mother possessed prior to learning trading. Does my mother’s lack of formal education in English affect her ability to understand and apply the trading concepts that were taught in English? Are her thought processes in English or Chinese? How is she able to successfully navigate the trading platforms with her limited computer skills? Since the interactions within the trading community are largely virtual, how do they both identify themselves and recognize others as being part of the social group? I sat beside my mother to observe the activity. In order to avoid distracting my mother from her usual trading activity, I refrained from asking many questions and instead recorded details based on my observations and inferences. However, she voluntarily provided explanations regarding the technical aspects of trading and the trading platform to aid in my understanding and appreciation of the entire process. Other information was collected through a follow-up interview after the literacy event, and the interview transcript can be found at the back part of this issue. No audio recordings or close-up photos were taken in accordance with the wishes of my mother. Methodology .