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ERIC Number: ED549246
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 349
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2673-9141-4
Conversations at the Threshold: Collaboratively Navigating Post-High School Pathways with Local and Bureaucratic Literacies
Weissman, Kabeera M.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
This study focused on exploring and creating life pathways with a group of twelfth graders at West Philadelphia High School. I invited students to inquire into "life pathways," broadly construed; participants chose to concentrate on transitions to college. Although scholars have investigated many elements of college access, there is limited research that foregrounds students' perspectives and experiences of navigating post-high school transitions (Bloom, 2007; Knight et al., 2004; McDonough, 1997), especially from students of color (Freeman, 1997; Kern, 2000). My research contributes to the literature on college access, adolescent and bureaucratic literacies, and practitioner and participatory action research. It also has local significance, in supporting students' agency and life chances. I used practitioner and participatory action research methodologies, collaborated with students, and reflected on my practice as facilitator. Students and I examined their evolving plans through reading, writing, talking, and drawing activities. Students shared family narratives about pathways, and discussed challenges in engaging institutional bureaucracies and application processes. Our group also became a community with solidarity, and created opportunities to leverage shared knowledge. I argue that students pursued pathways communally, drawing on their social networks, and their local and bureaucratic literacies. The discursive and narrative literacies of students' families surfaced as essential resources for students to make sense of future possibilities. Students positioned their trajectories within and against family narratives, and used a shared discourse of emit concepts, such as "back-up plans," in their pathways construction. I also learned that students' bureaucratic literacy practices frequently did not match those tacitly required by institutions. Students made a range of choices about how to perform bureaucratic literacies and represent themselves within bureaucratic texts, with consequences for their identities and institutional access. This study also offered a novel participatory action research framework by employing inquiry as its methodology, emphasizing our shared inquiries and my inquiry into practice, and constructing a project with multiple, overlapping threads for individual students. This work highlights the importance of unearthing the local social and cultural capital of students in transition, learning about their strategies of persistence and survival, and partnering with them to develop programming that affects them. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania