Panelist will discuss an intervention and collaborative framework known as Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), which privileges students' voices while creating opportunities to study their social contexts to improve conditions and engender greater equity. Panelist will share how collaborations across generations (faculty and graduate, undergraduate and high school students) provide a unique learning experience that produces knowledge strengthening social identities, community engagement, and the role of social justice in education. YPAR establishes collaborations across generations in which faculty and students at all levels and from different departments work collectively to produce knowledge that challenges systems of oppression (racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia). This knowledge is crucial for student success, in particular the success of marginalized students. The proposed sessions perceives student success for marginalized students as the promotion of student voice, positive and healthy social identities and participation in transforming oppressive conditions in under-resourced and underprivileged communities. Student success, in this way, is not solely focused on academic achievements but also includes the gaining of knowledge that inspires students to become change agents for social justice.YPAR in particular offers great potential as an inquiry process for investigating and improving educational policies and practices. Cammarota (2011) reports how student researchers used their findings to improve the representation and perspective of Mexican American culture. In addition, these same student researchers applied the knowledge gained from their inquiries to increase diversity in Advanced Placement courses and expand bi-lingual education. Cammarota (2008) also identifies how youth ethnographers created a video documentary, which highlighted a lack of funding and support for school infrastructure repairs and updates (bathrooms, tile, ceilings, library resources, and technology). These youth presented their video to the school board and within weeks their school received funds to complete some of these repair and updates. The proposed panel will illuminate the impact that student voice can have on school policy and practices, particularly as it relates to the educational experiences of students of color, as well as its impact on the students themselves, as evidenced in their engagement and success in school. Despite the precarious position of students of color in our educational system, rarely do we draw from the voices, knowledge and experiences of these students to address the issues that affect them. These young people are the most important stakeholders in their education, inasmuch as their everyday school experiences provide a wealth of knowledge, ranging from the obvious to the subtlest. By initiating a process though which student voices are elevated, the panelist discuss how students who are experiencing disengagement from school learn to express their ideas and thoughts around educational and social problems. By taking on the role of student researchers, they have the opportunity to contribute knowledge to decision-making around policies and practices that can enhance diversity and inclusiveness in education.
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AAA Annual Meeting 2021
18 November 2021