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Revolutionizing Education: Youth Participatory Action Research in Motion



This article reviews 'Revolutionizing education', a deeply reflective and retrospective book of scholarship on critical questions about youth participatory action research. The book contains a series of case study chapters that examine how youth participatory action research transforms young people and the social contexts in which they live as well as the learnings and implications yielded from this research. The book examines youth participatory action research both for its radical and revolutionary challenge to 'traditional research' practices but also for its active focus on research as a vehicle for increasing critical consciousness, developing knowledge for 'resistance and transformation' and for creating social change. It represents an important contribution to the field of youth participatory action research and community-based research.
Revolutionizing Education:
Youth Participatory Action Research
in Motion
Julio Cammarota & Michelle Fine (eds), Routledge,
New York & London, 2008, 256 pages
In which ways is research revolutionary and transformative?
How can research be a systematic approach to social change
and critical epistemology? How do youth gain the skills to
engage in critical research and what are the implications of
their efforts for creating change in communities, institutions,
education systems, academic settings, and society? These are the
provocative questions that Cammarota and Fine raise in their
important book Revolutionizing education: Youth participatory action
research in motion.
Cammarota and Fine describe youth participatory action
research (YPAR) as providing ‘young people with opportunities
to study social problems affecting their lives and determine
actions to rectify these problems’. Their definition is not simply
one of youth involvement in research but rather incorporates a
deeper notion of the power that can be generated when critical
inquiry is linked to creating social change and challenging
systems of oppression. They discuss YPAR both for its radical and
revolutionary challenge to ‘traditional research’ practices but
also for its active focus on research as a vehicle for increasing
critical consciousness, developing knowledge for ‘resistance and
transformation, and for creating social change.
The book contains a series of case study chapters that
examine how YPAR transforms young people and the social
contexts in which they live as well as the learnings and
implications yielded from this research. These chapters, co-written
by youth and adult researchers, focus on five case examples of
communities across three US states (Arizona, California and
New York). The book also includes four chapters that examine
the theory and practice of YPAR as an approach that challenges
traditional notions of research and current approaches to
education pedagogy.
Each of the five case chapters provides rich detail and focus
on the research process, including the design and implementation,
and implications of the research for social change. For example,
Cahill et al.s chapter explores their participatory research project
Gateways: International
Journal of Community
Research and Engagement
Vol 3 (2010): 187–189
©UTSePress and the author
ISSN 1836-3393
Katie Richards-Schuster
University of Michigan
188 | Gateways | Review
examining everyday living in the Lower East Side of New York
City. In this chapter, the authors detail the development of the
research process and the critical insights gained from that process
for understanding their own lives and those of their community.
Romero et al.s chapter discusses the Social Justice Education
Project (SJEP) in Tucson which engages young people in the
public schools in participatory research on social and structural
issues impacting Latina/o students. It includes short writings by
students about their experiences in SJEP and focuses on the success,
struggles and lessons learned over this five-year project and the
pedagogical theory underlying the project. Morell et al.’s chapter
describes the work of the Institute for Democracy, Education and
Access (IDEA) in Los Angeles and the participation of young people
in a summer seminar in which they used critical research as a
tool for youth engagement and for exploring social topics such as
student rights, the experience of youth of color in public schools
and civic education in schools.
A unique aspect of this book is that each of the chapters is
followed by a commentary from a senior scholar. The scholars –
Sandy Grande, Maxine Greene, Pauline Lipman, Luis Moll and
John Rodgers – discuss the chapter, the educational pedagogy
and the research project’s potential for transformation. The
commentaries challenge the reader to consider larger questions
raised by each of the chapters, including questions about
democratic practice, political sovereignty, authentic learning,
critical social praxis and education reform.
The concluding chapters of the book focus on the role of
participatory action research in reforming education systems and
reforming and redefining research. Cannella’s chapter challenges
education systems to value the potential of participatory action
research as an effective and valuable educational approach in
contrast to the current approaches prescribed through federal US
education policies like No Child Left Behind.
A concluding chapter by Fine looks at participatory action
research through the university lens. Her chapter is a hypothetical
letter to a tenure committee in support of an assistant professor
whose scholarship is rooted in participatory action research
pedagogy. Fine challenges traditional notions of research and
argues for the merit and value of participatory action research –
not as an alternative to traditional research, but rather as a more
essential form of research.
Revolutionizing education is deeply reflective and retrospective
scholarship on critical questions about YPAR. Throughout the
various chapters, the editors push the reader to examine the ways
in which YPAR projects encourage ‘new meanings of education’
and call for an examination of the way education settings can
be transformed through ‘the acquisition of intellectual resources
through which students initiate revolutionary projects to transform
themselves and the worlds they inhabit. In doing so, the authors
lay the foundation for examining YPAR not as a method but
189 | Gateways | Review
rather as an epistemological and pedagogical approach that
fundamentally challenges the way society views knowledge
development, research and education. Fine concludes the book
stating that she hopes that one day ‘YPAR comes to be recognized
as a gift of critical pedagogy, deliberative public scholarship, and
a delicious space for imaging multi-generational possibilities for a
very different tomorrow’.
Revolutionizing education is an important contribution to
the field of youth participatory action research. It creates the
delicious space’ through which readers can begin to imagine these
possibilities and critically examine their own understanding of
their work and its potential for revolutionising and transforming
individuals and society.
... Defined by its research philosophy and the relationship between research partners rather than methodology, CEnR is now an established scholarly tradition in numerous disciplines including health sciences, the social sciences, social work, urban planning, education, and the arts. Teams using CEnR have implemented research projects addressing a wide range of stakeholder concerns; collaborated with partners across the research process [10][11][12][13], from problem identification to scaling evidence-based interventions [14]; transformed service learning with new curricula and pedagogies that reflect students' interests and learning styles [15]; and transformed natural, built, and artistic environments to better reflect the values and interests of communities [16]. ...
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Background Community-engaged research (CEnR) is a research approach in which scholars partner with community organizations or individuals with whom they share an interest in the study topic, typically with the goal of supporting that community’s well-being. CEnR is well-established in numerous disciplines including the clinical and social sciences. However, universities experience challenges reporting comprehensive CEnR metrics, limiting the development of appropriate CEnR infrastructure and the advancement of relationships with communities, funders, and stakeholders. Objective We propose a novel approach to identifying and categorizing community-engaged studies by applying attention-based deep learning models to human participants protocols that have been submitted to the university’s institutional review board (IRB). Methods We manually classified a sample of 280 protocols submitted to the IRB using a 3- and 6-level CEnR heuristic. We then trained an attention-based bidirectional long short-term memory unit (Bi-LSTM) on the classified protocols and compared it to transformer models such as Bidirectional Encoder Representations From Transformers (BERT), Bio + Clinical BERT, and Cross-lingual Language Model–Robustly Optimized BERT Pre-training Approach (XLM-RoBERTa). We applied the best-performing models to the full sample of unlabeled IRB protocols submitted in the years 2013-2019 (n>6000). Results Although transfer learning is superior, receiving a 0.9952 evaluation F1 score for all transformer models implemented compared to the attention-based Bi-LSTM (between 48%-80%), there were key issues with overfitting. This finding is consistent across several methodological adjustments: an augmented data set with and without cross-validation, an unaugmented data set with and without cross-validation, a 6-class CEnR spectrum, and a 3-class one. Conclusions Transfer learning is a more viable method than the attention-based bidirectional-LSTM for differentiating small data sets characterized by the idiosyncrasies and variability of CEnR descriptions used by principal investigators in research protocols. Despite these issues involving overfitting, BERT and the other transformer models remarkably showed an understanding of our data unlike the attention-based Bi-LSTM model, promising a more realistic path toward solving this real-world application.
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The authors review studies that utilize a range of research methodologies. After explaining how studies were selected for inclusion, the authors introduce three conceptual approaches that frame history education research: disciplinary approaches, sociocultural approaches, and studies framed by the concept of historical consciousness. Studies are organized by approach and reviewed within categories of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods research. The chapter ends with a discussion of “reform methodologies.”
In this article, I review youth-led participatory action research (YPAR) as an innovative equity-focused approach to promote adolescent health and well-being. YPAR draws on the expertise of adolescents as they conduct research and improve conditions that support healthy development. Specifically, I explain the core principles and processes of YPAR, provide examples, discuss theoretical and empirical support for the effects of YPAR at many levels, and identify areas for research. © 2017 The Author. Child Development Perspectives
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The extant literature documents the importance of school counselors’ roles in school–family–community partnerships, yet no model exists to guide school counselors through the process of building partnerships. The authors propose a model to help school counselors navigate the process and principles of partnerships. They define partnerships; discuss the principles of democratic collaboration, empowerment, social justice, and strengths focus that should infuse partnerships; enumerate a partnership process model; and discuss implications for practice and research.
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This paper conceptualizes an approach to adolescent literacies research we call research pedagogies. This approach recognizes the pedagogical features of the research process and includes three dimensions: created spaces, engaged participation, and embodied inquiry. By drawing upon and sometimes recasting foundational anthropological approaches to education research, we argue for the development of research spaces that are also teaching spaces responsive to the emergent and multimodal communicative landscape of adolescents.
The use of reference groups made up of members of the population being researched has been encouraged within the qualitative research literature. This paper describes the use of reference groups made up of children and young people and promotes them as a space within which co-reflexive activities can help researchers reconsider their research approaches and assumptions, their methodologies and methods and the new knowledge created. The paper uses three case studies to highlight the benefits the authors have encountered as well as those identified by children and young people themselves.
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Community organizing—a field of practice in which residents collaboratively investigate and undertake sustained collective action regarding social issues of mutual concern—has often proven an effective method for achieving changes in policies and systems at local, regional, and even national scales. The field is dynamic. It has expanded and has undergone numerous changes over recent decades. Research from a variety of disciplines has documented, evaluated, and informed many of these changes. This article scrutinizes the evolving field of community organizing, with a particular focus on the current state of social and psychological research on broad-based community organizing processes and outcomes. These findings include not only the effects of community organizing efforts on policies and systems, but also the influences of community organizing on psychological changes among the people and groups who participate. These findings are incorporated into recommendations for policies, practices, and future research.
This article develops the concept of food apartheid, which places access to healthy affordable, culturally appropriate food for urban youth in the context of structural racism, racial formation, and racialized geographies. An important way to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and local knowledge and advance preventative policy is through youth participatory action research (YPAR). YPAR is an increasingly utilized research approach that involves the affected community identifying a local issue, developing a research agenda, and planning an appropriate intervention to address the issue. This article documents a YPAR partnership in the East Oakland neighborhood and the development of a community food security intervention in response to youth-led research. Specifically, we describe how Streetwize—a new mobile, mapping, and SMS platform that allows users to find goods and services, take action on important issues, and visualize health and well-being in their neighborhoods—coupled with “ground-truthing”—an approach in which community members work with researchers to collect and verify “public” data sparked a food revolution in East Oakland that led to an increase in young people’s self-esteem, environmental responsibility, and encourages urban youth to become more civically, community, and academically engaged. We discuss recommendations and implications for future research and collaborations between researchers, teachers, neighborhood leaders, and youth serving organizations.
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We are beginning to witness a broadening of the contribution, positioning and purpose of ethnography in industry, catalysed by questioning what it can enable for communities and societies. By going beyond boundaries and disjuncture of corporate forms and viewing it within an entangled fields of economics, culture and society, this paper discuss how we become aware of what we do, and to enable others to make sense of the transformations that are occurring around them and within them, and how can we all participate in that process of being and becoming. In doing so, we question how to self-reflexively explore how we, as ethnographers, can be empowered to embark on such endeavours.
Unlike the United Kingdom and other nations that mandate youth participation to some degree, U.S. policies instead tend to inhibit child participation rather than encourage it. Given these policy contexts, it can be challenging to locate spaces where robust opportunities for democratic participation and student voice exist. We use this article as an opportunity to examine the disciplinary, philosophical and methodological approaches that have framed youth participation in youth contexts. We conclude by identifying critical issues of citizenship and belonging that must be considered in participatory research.
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