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InsideOut: Facilitating Gay Youth Identity Development Through a Performance-Based Youth Organization

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This article addresses issues of identity development for youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ), using the concept of a "viable social identity" (Côté & Levine, 2002) as the model for a positive developmental trajectory. LGBTQ youth face more extreme developmental challenges than most mainstream youth, such as learning to manage a stigmatized identity (Hetrick & Martin, 1987) in a potentially hostile environment, making participation in identity-work activities particularly important. Through a case study with About Face Youth Theatre, a performance arts organization in Chicago, this study explores the relation between narrative and identity, and the way in which the public performance of personal narratives both allows youth to explore possible selves (Markus & Nurius, 1986) and to see their painful, personal stories independent of themselves, allowing them to move beyond these events toward a positive future.
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... Consistently, historical memory education (HME) emphasizes the importance of pedagogical change as a prerequisite for providing reparation and guaranteeing non-repetition (Corredor et al., 2018). In this task, a productive strategy is the incorporation of pedagogical experiences in history and arts education that have been shown transformative educational effects (Halverson, 2005;Reisman, 2012). This chapter presents an educational experience in HME that uses both document-based activities and role-playing. ...
... Recently, narrative activities involving artistic production have been conceptualized as spaces for identity exploration and positive youth development. In these spaces, adolescents have the opportunity of performing personal narratives, through dramaturgical projects or digital media production which permits the exploration of possible selves and the experience of collective identity exploration (Halverson, 2005(Halverson, , 2010(Halverson, , 2013. Narrative exploration, in this context, allows youth from stigmatized groups to process social pressures through collective representation and develop positive identities of themselves. ...
... Activities in this study were designed following basic principles of HME, that is, they were student-centered, collaborative, and digital (Corredor et al., 2018). Activities also incorporated recent developments in educational research (Halverson, 2005(Halverson, , 2010(Halverson, , 2013Kobbe et al., 2007;Kollar et al., 2006;Martin & Wineburg, 2008;Reisman, 2012;Wineburg, 1991). Our design shows that it is beneficial to incorporate pedagogical concepts developed for the teaching of other subject matters to the teaching of history and historical memory. ...
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Pedagogical change is imperative for historical memory education (HME). This chapter describes qualitatively an educational experience in HME that embeds document-based analysis in role-playing activities. Historical role-playing was used as a pedagogical resource, allowing the presentation of historical inquiry within narratives that are attractive for students. Results show that the role-playing activities fostered class dynamics around emergent document-based narratives that transformed both the understanding of the conflict and the empathetic appreciation of what the conflict meant emotionally for victims and survivors. Using thematic analysis, this chapter presents the main findings of this work in a way that can enrich pedagogical practices in history and HME. Guidelines for designing this type of activities are provided, attending especially to the principle of not reenacting traumatic events directly and to the need of having adequate moments of emotional closing and healing, but also to the idea that HME needs to present the complexity of a violent past and to connect with economic, political, and institutional issues.
... As "a border, a margin, a site of negotiation" (Carlson, 1996, p. 20) the dramaturgical process offers youth opportunities to understand their lives and experiences (Hammock, 2011;Winn, 2012); portray the stories and personae of other people as a way to try on different selves (Halverson, 2010); and imagine possibilities for their lives (Halverson, 2010;Winn & Jackson, 2011). As a "live space" (Halverson, 2010) for the interrogation of inequitable conditions, theater affords youth with opportunities to delve into and retell difficult events and repudiate negative judgments through the re-presentation of lived experiences (Halverson, 2005;Winn, 2012). Rehearsals and performances are thus significant sites of "authoring" (Halverson, 2010;Winn & Jackson, 2011). ...
... Furthermore, Xang understood that it was important for him to risk the personal and navigate the "blurred boundaries" between the personal and professional (McLaughlin, 2001) to illustrate for Hmong youth possible ethnic selves (cf. Halverson, 2005) that included dating or marrying someone with the same last name: I don't think that any of them would have been-If not for this story and if not for my experience, I have a feeling they would not have seen the same-last-name dating as an okay thing . . . They wouldn't have seen it as an okay thing. ...
Article
Background/Context Community-based youth theater programs afford youth opportunities to explore and “author” new identities by “performing writing.” Yet, we know much less about the ways in which immigrant youth are exploring struggles and changes within their families and ethnic community. We particularly lack research about the roles of immigrant adult educators in youth programs, and the significance to the pedagogical process of their experiences, being, and modes of interacting with young people who share with them a common ethnicity. Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study The purpose of the study is to explore the role of a community-based Hmong immigrant educator as a “nepantlera,” or boundary-crossing “guide” in Hmong youth’s negotiation of culture and identity. It is guided by three questions: (1) How does nepantlera pedagogy move beyond self–other dichotomies? (2) How does nepantlera pedagogy facilitate rewriting the self to construct new visions of ethnic identity? and (3) How does nepantlera pedagogy entail risking the personal? Setting The research setting was a Hmong community-based arts organization in an urban center in the Midwestern United States. Population/Participants/Subjects Three 1.5-generation Hmong American adult staff of a community-based organization, one Korean American teaching artist from a local theater company, and 11 second-generation Hmong American adolescents participated in the study. Research Design The study draws from a critical ethnographic investigation of the culturally relevant practices of a youth theater project within a Hmong coethnic organization. Data Collection and Analysis Ethnographic data collection occurred over the 4-month program cycle of the theater project. Data sources include field notes from participant observations, semi-structured interviews, audio and video recordings of the activities, work products, and documents about the program and organization. The data were analyzed with thematic analysis techniques. Findings/Results The findings suggest that the nepantlera pedagogy of the Hmong immigrant educator fostered opportunities for Hmong youth to (1) disrupt binaries between first-generation and second-generation immigrants by exploring not only differences but also commonalities; (2) imagine new ethnic selves by exploring and rewriting a Hmong edict against same-last-name relationships; and (3) experience the vulnerability of their Hmong educator through disclosure about his personal life. Conclusions/Recommendations The nepantlera pedagogy of an immigrant educator within a coethnic community-based organization brings a perspective from the nepantla, or “in-between,” of culture and identity that provides immigrant youth with a deeper level of cultural knowledge and connectedness to navigate their multiple worlds.
... Other domains broadly define self-identification as an ongoing process of presentation, negotiation, exchange and reconciliation (Cooley 1902;Damasio 2012;Gardiner 2000;Gauntlett 2007;Goffman 1959;Halverson 2005;Ricoeur 1992). Students interpret the value of their participation and determine their role within a creative community through self-comparisons to and interactions with 'significant artistic others': teachers, influential peers, family, community members, and generalised impressions of more socially recognised artists. ...
... Gilligan (1989, 53-4) prefers the metaphor of 'dialogue' to the more conventional metaphor of a 'mirror' to define self-identification: 'Self is known in the experience of connection and defined not by reflection but by interaction, the responsiveness of human interaction. ' Per Gilligan's thinking, self-in-dialogue is equally 'independent' and 'interdependent', and individuals have a commitment (if not obligation) to be responsive to the differences and similarities that emerge in dialogues of self-identification. Halverson (2005) comparably describes self-identification as a 'levelling' of self-based perspectives in which individuals learn to reconcile the perspectives of others with their own perspectives. Erikson (1968) situates self-identification in relationship to environmental conditions, suggesting that the individual's preparedness to grow in an understanding of themselves, responsiveness to events ongoing in life and the conduciveness of the current environment each intersect in the formative processes of selective self-identification. ...
Article
Self‐identification is essential to the mediation of educational outcomes, however the selective self‐identification of students as an artist remains a relatively unexplored area of research in art education. This project uses qualitative narrative analysis to deconstruct the life stories of university‐level art students, to examine formative processes underlying selective artistic self‐identification, and to discern how dispositions developed in earlier experiences impact student engagement, performance and motivation at the university level. Research findings indicate students‐as‐artist identities develop along two distinct dramaturgical positions and emphasise the importance of mentor relationships, student‐choice, open exploration, and environmental support to the development of emerging student‐as‐art identities. The researcher reviews literature broadly supporting an examination of selective self‐identification, outlines methods used to deconstruct the life stories of university‐level art students, examines evidence of emerging patterns in the data, and concludes with a short discussion of how findings of this project impact the teacher’s role in corroborating selective artistic self‐identification in students.
... • Unitary and multiple • Discontinuous and continuous • Social and individual Akkerman & Meijer (2010) Narratives • Halverson (2005) posits that narratives allow us to analyze: ...
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Evidence indicates that students have few opportunities to develop argumentative writing in school (Graham et al., 2013; Meneses, 2008; Concha et al., 2010 ), directly affecting their possibilities of participating in more complex literate worlds, like higher education, where these skills are required for succeeding (Wesley & Lowenthal, 2010). This article analyzes preconceptions about writing in participants of a Writing Teacher Professional Development (TPD) program in a public University in Chile. This work was guided by two research questions: (a) What are the beliefs and appraisals about the teaching and learning of writing in the context of this TPD program? (b) What are some of the reflections (contrasts with previous beliefs and appraisals) reported by teachers after and during their involvement in this TPD program? This qualitative exploratory study expands on a previous one (Alvarado et al., 2021), using semi-structured interviews (Rubin & Rubin, 2012) at three points in time during 2018 and 2020 with seven ongoing participants of the aforementioned Writing TPD program. Preliminary results of the data show that teachers envision the writing teaching-learning process as a communicative process based around the construction of meaning. Further, teachers reflected on the re(construction) of what a meaningful student-centered learning environment means. Finally, this study not only adds to the literature on Writing TPD programs to prepare students for higher education but also emphasizes the importance of constant teacher reflection as a concrete way to modify and adapt teaching practices, allowing teachers to feel empowered by their beliefs.
... 26 This approach promotes acceptance and enhances learning, particularly about minority populations, 27e29 challenges and breaks existing stereotypes among non-marginalized communities, 28e32 and can promote self-acceptance among LGBTQþ communities in settings with unfavourable sociocultural attitudes. 33,34 Instead of using statements and conclusions as a form of persuasion, community-based theatre often incorporates community narratives to motivate audiences because narratives allow audiences to become emotionally invested in the personal stories offered. 35 Moving audiences through powerful narratives helps spectators adapt their realworld beliefs and behaviours to the values and messages of the accounts to which they are exposed. ...
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Objectives This project aimed to assess the effectiveness of a community-based theatre intervention to improve attitudes towards and increase knowledge about LGBTQ+ communities among audiences in Mumbai, India. Study design This study was a program evaluation using pre- and post-show surveys that incorporated an adapted version of The Riddle Scale: Attitudes Towards Difference and questions assessing self-reported knowledge about LGBTQ+-related issues to assess changes in attitudes and knowledge after viewing the theatre intervention. Methods An original 90-min devised play was created by a company of Indian, American, and Canadian theatre artists using Participatory Action Research methods and was designed to bring audiences to a deeper understanding of LGBTQ+ identity. The show was performed four times in Mumbai, India, and pre-/post-show surveys were collected at each performance. Audience survey responses were analysed using parametric and non-parametric descriptive statistics as appropriate, and Likert scale questions were compared using Wilcoxon Signed Rank for non-parametric data. Results A total 184 surveys were completed across four performances between March 7 and 14, 2020. Significant increases in audiences’ self-reported knowledge of LGBTQ+ identity, impacts of discrimination, and struggles faced by LGBTQ+ communities were reported after viewing the show. Furthermore, attitudes towards LGBTQ+ rights, understanding of the challenges of being LGBTQ+ in India, and recognition of the contributions LGBTQ+ individuals make to society improved significantly among our audiences after test. The play further fostered increased acceptance of prosocial behaviours towards LGBTQ+ individuals with higher percentages of audiences recognizing the importance of standing up to homophobia and anti-gay attitudes. While these observations were seen across audiences, they were particularly pronounced among cisgender heterosexual men and audiences ages 18–24. Conclusion Community-based theatre intervention is highly acceptable and effective as a medium for informing positive attitudes, improving knowledge, and promoting acceptance of and solidarity towards LGBTQ+ communities among young adult heterosexual audiences.
... Electronic copy available at: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3545409 Halverson (2005) posits that stories procure a way for individuals to explore three key dimensions of identity: how we perceive ourselves, how we relate to others, and how we integrate to the communities we belong. Halverson states that when we tell stories we build notions of identity through a variety of social instances and interactions and that, in turn, the way we see ourselves in those social instances shapes the stories we tell. ...
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There are several important reviews and studies that have explored literacy and identity in students at different levels, but there are no specific reviews on students in higher education or transitioning from high school to tertiary education, which has become a very important topic as of late. As well, the conceptualizations of literacy and discourse used in these studies are usually not explicitly stated, leaving to fuzziness of terms and their usage and having, at times, studies that refer to both terms interchangeably. Thus, this paper surveys the literature on the theoretical frameworks and empirical research carried out on the intersection of literacy, discourse and identity, exploring the different ways in which literacy and discourse have been conceptualized in studies that have looked at students in secondary and post-secondary education. Keywords: secondary, higher education, discourse, literacy, identity, literature review Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3545409 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3545409
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Este artículo describe los objetivos identitarios y los temas que los estudiantes universitarios (N=231) tratan en formato audiovisual en sus muros de Facebook. Para tal fin, se realizó un análisis de contenido de una muestra de 1514 publicaciones de los usuarios. Estas publicaciones fueron codificadas en términos de sus objetivos identitarios, de los temas abordados, de la acción realizada y del formato utilizado, para evaluar si el formato audiovisual tenía objetivos y usos diferentes a los demás usados por los estudiantes en las redes. Los objetivos identitarios se definen como la finalidad de la publicación en relación con la presentación del self en un espacio público. Los resultados muestran que las publicaciones audiovisuales cumplen un rol importante en la construcción de la identidad virtual de los jóvenes. Se utilizan con objetivos identitarios de autodescripción y transmisión de contenidos, y cubren un amplio rango de temas, incluyendo algunos asociados a series y películas.
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Increasingly, research is acknowledging the importance of identity for understanding and supporting learning. Identity is a particularly useful concept for highlighting extraordinary individual experiences, interpreting rich social contexts, and viewing learning at multiple timescales, from an instant reaction to lifelong psychosocial development. However, identity is complex-it is conceptualized differently by various academic traditions. This inherent diversity can lead to a confusing or murky notion of identity. In this symposium, we clarify the concept, integrating the relevant theoretical perspectives of social and psychological identity to assess its implications to design, research, and practice. We provide concrete examples from our own research of the benefits of viewing learning as identity formation and the challenges to conducting such research. Learning as Identity Formation The learning sciences are manifold, acknowledging contributions from numerous academic traditions (education, psychology, computer science, design, etc.) and recognizing multiple perspectives on learning, both their power and limitations. Bransford and Schwartz (1999) argue that having a more fine-grained notion of transfer has powerful consequences for how we understand and promote learning. In his keynote at ICLS 2002, Roy Pea noted the limitations of the learning model imposed by the then-new "No Child Left Behind" legislation: that learning gains can be quantified through testing and thereby directly compared. In this symposium, we examine the perspective of learning as identity formation-people use their personal experience to actively construct their identity in relation to ideas, others, and to themselves. We provide concrete examples from our own work on the value of this perspective to design, research, and practice. As with any lens
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