ERIC Number: EJ1035596
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Reference Count: 27
"This Is Just Like Those Projects from Last Semester!": Student Empowerment and Praxis at an Urban Title I Middle School
Horn, Brian R.
Multicultural Perspectives, v16 n3 p154-159 2014
Action research, particularly done by teachers, has had a contentious, decades-long history. As a form of social inquiry, action research has been designed to make it easier for members of social groups to create social change within their communities. Rather than conducting research that focuses on an outcome, action researchers focus on the process of change. Community members are positioned as learners, making productive and just decisions (Glassman, Erdem, & Bartholomew, 2012). Nevertheless, despite the potential of action research to impact schools and school communities in positive ways, teacher research has often been marginalized within the academy and social sciences. These are trying times for teacher research. Fewer decisions are being left to teachers, and "scientifically-based research" is having a greater influence on policy (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2009). Quality teacher research that illuminates community voice and works to create social change is necessary. In this article, urban teacher Brian Horn describes how he learned with his 8th grade Language Arts students at a Title I school the ways in which schools can empower students to engage in praxis, reflect, and act upon the world in order to transform it (Freire, 1970), through the implementation of critical inquiry. Drawing on sociocultural theory, critical literacy and interpretive research, this study privileges students' voices through their schoolwork and research. By illuminating students' voices, this research seeks to clarify: (a) how school disempowers students, (b) how school empowers students, and (c) how urban teachers can empower students to engage in praxis through a consistent student-centered, justice-oriented, and action-based pedagogy. Horn concludes the article by identifying three key nuances when considering student empowerment and moving from knowledge to praxis.
Descriptors: Student Empowerment, Praxis, Urban Schools, Critical Theory, Social Change, Grade 8, Middle School Teachers, Critical Literacy, Student Centered Curriculum, Ethnography, Teacher Researchers, Educational Research, Participant Characteristics, Interviews, Focus Groups, Teaching Methods, Action Research, Observation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; Grade 8; Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A