Sustaining Youth Voice in the Classroom: Exploring Inquiry, Dialogue, and Performance as Civic Literacies

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Facilitators: Dr. Nicole Mirra & Dr. Danielle Filipiak

This workshop presents youth participatory action research (YPAR) as a pedagogical framework that supports youth in developing critical literacy skills and identities as public intellectuals. Together, we will consider how knowledge is traditionally positioned in the classroom – who has it, where it comes from, and what it is for. As part of this inquiry, we will explore how humanizing young people as knowledge producers and leveraging the multiple literacy practices in their lives can make our classes transformative civic spaces. We will think about how to put youth voice in the center of our commitments as educators and consider how this might best position them to challenge social inequities in authentic and powerful ways. Workshop presenters will highlight examples of YPAR in action in communities from New York to LA to Detroit in order to familiarize participants with the practice. From here, our group will take a participatory approach in exploring ways to weave dialogue, inquiry and performance into the classroom to engage young people in reimagining the world around them (and their roles within it). Participants will walk away with a deeper understanding of the tenants of YPAR, the seed of a project they can implement in their respective educational contexts, and pedagogical strategies for putting youth at the center of knowledge creation.