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PAR EntreMundos

A Pedagogy of the Américas


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 4. A Creative Justice Approach to Learning (Melissa Rivera / Cristina Medellin-Paz / Pedro Pedraza)



A Creative Justice Approach to Learning

Melissa Rivera, Cristina Medellin-Paz, and Pedro Pedraza

In this chapter we introduce a framework for learning grounded in the arts and social justice, a pathway into personal transformation and collective development for Latinx. Research shows that Latinx students have historically been underserved by U.S. public school systems, and today by most conventional measures of educational success continue on this trajectory (Nieto, Rivera, & Quiñones, 2012; Pedraza & Rivera, 2005). El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice chose to responded to this educational crisis two decades ago by developing and sustaining a loving and caring community, where mastery in learning is realized via peace and justice and the arts. This case example provides a summary of our collaborative findings from a four-year research process, highlighting an approach to learning rooted in creativity and social justice as well as recommendations for its integration into classroom practice and educational policy.

Our research speaks to current and long-standing educational issues such as how we create sustainable and meaningful learning environments for diverse students and how we define educational success beyond traditional indices of achievement. We propose that principles such as PAR EntreMundos’ knowledge co-construction, creative praxes and indigenous cosmologies are visionary and practical educational principles that encourage young people←71 | 72→ to imagine and create the world they want to see by connecting with others in authentic and caring relationships, rooting in ancient cultural wisdom, engaging in and...

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