Studying the Struggle: Contexts for Learning and Identity Development for Urban Youth

Activism and organizing can be a fertile subject matter for young people to study. This article presents a case study of a summer seminar in which urban high school students examined the historical struggle for educational justice in their communities. Adopting a “communities of practice” approach to learning, the article documents the changing participation of seminar participants and the changing identities and skills that this entailed. During the seminar, students took on identities as “critical researchers”— skilled investigators who produce and share knowledge relevant to social change. In the process, seminar participants developed and deployed high-level academic skills in language arts, social studies, and mathematics.

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John Rogers

Ernest Morrell

Noel Enyedy

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