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PAR EntreMundos

A Pedagogy of the Américas

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Edited By Jennifer Ayala, Julio Cammarota, Margarita I. Berta-Ávila, Melissa Rivera, Louie F. Rodríguez and María Elena Torre

PAR EntreMundos: A Pedagogy of the Américas challenges the standard narratives of "achievement" to think about how Latinx students can experience an education that forges new possibilities of liberation and justice. Growing Latinx student populations have led to concerns about "assimilating" them into mainstream academic frameworks. This book offers an alternative, decolonizing approach that embraces complex Latinx identities and clears a path toward resisting systems of oppression. Educating Latinx students should involve more than just helping them achieve in school but rather having them recognize their agency to transform the larger structure of education to promote justice-oriented practices. The authors offer a framework for such transformation by honoring their theoretical lineages, proposing a set of guiding principles, and sharing stories about collective social action within and outside Latinx communities. PAR EntreMundos: A Pedagogy of the Américas is a practice of liberation and freedom.

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Chapter 1. Theoretical Lineages & Guiding Principles (Julio Cammarota / Jennifer Ayala / Melissa Rivera / Louie F. Rodríguez / Margarita Ines Berta-Ávila / María Elena Torre)

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Theoretical Lineages & Guiding Principles

Julio Cammarota, Jennifer Ayala, Melissa Rivera, Louie F. Rodríguez, Margarita Ines Berta-Ávila, and María Elena Torre

If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you come because your liberation is bound up in mine, then let us work together.

Aboriginal Activist Group

Academic research has often been seen as a tool used against people of color, as a way to study and understand “others” to justify policies and practices that maintain subordination. Acknowledging this oppressive history, and as a counter to it, we as Latinx educators, scholars, and activists ascribe to participatory action approaches that use research as a collaborative tool to be used with communities towards liberatory and social justice goals. In the following paragraphs, we briefly highlight some of our theoretical madrinas and padrinos in this work, to offer grounding in this evolving tradition.

Participatory action research (PAR) is recognized generally as an approach or orientation in which research participants are not only the focus of the inquiry but partners in it, by being part of the research process. PAR researchers collaborate with “local participants to define the research questions, describe their experiences in their own terms, and use the research results to effect change” (Chataway, 1997, p. 750). This partnership between “outside-researchers” and “research subjects” renders PAR a democratic approach in which decision-making around the methods and results of the...

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