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ERIC Number: EJ1143325
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-1946-7109
Critically Conscious Learning: Using Participatory Action Research Methods to Engage Students
Shahnazarian, Armen
Penn GSE Perspectives on Urban Education, v13 n2 Win 2016-2017
As outlined by many of the social and political movements happening around us today, now more than ever, youth need to be critically conscious of their world in order to navigate it successfully. The Toronto District School Board, where Armen Shahnazarian teaches uses the hybrid model of culturally responsive and relevant pedagogy (CRRP), based on frameworks put forth by Gloria Ladson-Billings (1995) and Geneva Gay (2000), not only to assist with academic achievement, but to also help facilitate critical consciousness. During the 2015-2016 school year, Shahnazarian held the position of Student Work Study Teacher (SWST). As a provincial initiative, SWSTs are assigned to schools where students are not achieving according to Ontario Ministry of Education standards. Part of Shahnazarian's role was to collaborate with teachers to develop inquiries through pedagogical documentation, for instance by capturing student learning through products, observational notes, photos, videos, and interviews. Stemming from this process, Shahnazarian engaged in a professional learning inquiry with one of the collaborating teachers to increase student engagement in a 9th grade academic English class. Since the school board requires its use, Shahnazarian chose to focus on CRRP (Toronto District School Board, 2013), in particular its emphasis on critical consciousness, to work towards this goal. This article describes this process, and puts forth a call to educators to create opportunities for students to engage with critical consciousness raising, and to consider Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) methods as a tool to help them in doing so. Critical consciousness allows students to become active agents by connecting their in-class learning to their day-to-day lives. As a result, students begin to develop the ability to recognize systemic oppression and to offer potential ways in which it may be eliminated.
University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. 3700 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 9; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada (Toronto)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A