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Creative Expressions of Agency: Contemplating Youth Voice and Adult Roles in Participatory Action Research


by Vanessa Jones, Carmine Stewart, Anne Galletta & Jennifer Ayala — 2015

The chapter examines youth participation within three intergenerational collectives using participatory action research (PAR) to address educational policies youth viewed as counterproductive to their education. Outlining the complexity of youth voice, the multiple vehicles within the arts through which youth voice is expressed, and the different ways in which youth voice is received by educators and policy makers, the chapter underscores the promise of youth involvement in developing, assessing, and fundamentally altering educational policy.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 114. No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 117 Number 13, 2015, p. 135-152
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18281, Date Accessed: 10/21/2017 10:00:36 AM

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About the Author
  • Vanessa Jones
    Artivist InK
    E-mail Author
    VANESSA JONES, founder of Artivist InK, employs multi-media methods to document the nature of Black experiences, examining the politics of educational access, identity formation, and negotiating space within postcolonial United States. In theorizing around art as a method and the role stories have in creating historical memory and (re)defining the context of urban education, she attends to the notion of “expert” and the need to reimagine research to include the situated knowledge construction and perspectives of “others” who are often the subjects of this racist construct. Recently published works include: Jones, V. (2014). Art as method: A crafted counter story of urban experiences and implications for educating Black youth. In M. C. Edwards (Ed.), Black Child Journal: The Arts and the Black Child. IL: Third World Press.
  • Carmine Stewart
    Aspire Consulting and Educational Services
    E-mail Author
    CARMINE STEWART received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Eastern Michigan University and returned home to Cleveland to pursue a Master’s in Urban Planning from the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. For the next 10 years Carmine held several roles in education, until finding her passion and purpose in the field of adult literacy education. After observing the current state of teacher preparation and professional development in adult literacy, and judging it to be inadequate preparation for the education of adults with low literacy levels, Carmine began pursuing a PhD in Urban Education from Cleveland State University, with the hope of changing the current state of the field. Carmine earned her doctorate in August of 2012, after defending her dissertation, “Teacher Preparation and Professional Development in Adult Literacy Education.” Carmine conducts professional development workshops for adult literacy instructors that provide them with strategies and tools useful for improving the instruction of adult learners. Carmine is also the President and CEO of Aspire Consulting and Educational Services, conducting research, evaluation, assessment, data analysis, and professional development training for school districts and adult literacy agencies. Her research interests are teacher preparation and professional development in adult literacy education, developing emancipatory knowledge in adult literacy educators, creating agency among the adult literacy population, and family literacy. Recently published works include: Stewart, C. (2012). Teacher Preparation and Professional Development in Adult Literacy Education (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Ohiolink. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/rws_etd/document/get/csu1357933502/inline
  • Anne Galletta
    Cleveland State University
    ANNE GALLETTA is an associate professor at the College of Education and Human Services at Cleveland State University. As a social psychologist, her research interests include the nature of social and structural relations as they relate to equity in education. To address dimensions of human experience within schools and communities, she draws on qualitative research methods, particularly the semi-structured interview. Through participatory methods, Dr. Galletta works with educators, youth, and community members in studying issues affecting neighborhoods and schools and engaging in collective action to address these issues. Recently published works include: Galletta, A. (2013). Mastering the semi-structured interview and beyond: From research design to analysis and publication. New York: New York University Press. Ayala, J., & Galletta, A. (2012). Documenting disappearing spaces: Erasure and remembrance in two high school closures. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 18(2), 149–155.
  • Jennifer Ayala
    St. Peter's University
    E-mail Author
    JENNIFER AYALA, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey. Her scholarship focuses on education justice issues using PAR with youth and educators, borderlands theory/mestiza consciousness, and Latinidades. Recently published works include: Zaal, M., & Ayala, J. (2013). “Why don’t we learn like this in school?” One participatory action research collective’s framework for developing policy thinking. Journal for Curriculum Theorizing, 29(2), pp. 159–172. Ayala, J., & Galletta, A. (2012). Documenting disappearing spaces: Erasure and remembrance in two high school closures. Peace and Conflict: A Journal of Peace Psychology
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