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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 10. “Students With Big Dreams That Just Need a Little Push”: Self-Empowerment, Activism, & Institutional Change Through PAR EntreMundos (Rubén A. González)

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·10·

“Students with Big Dreams that Just Need a Little Push”

Self-Empowerment, Activism, & Institutional Change Through PAR EntreMundos

Rubén A. González

Students are seated in groups of four during their ninth grade English class. Twenty-two students diligently complete a written reflection about their experiences completing a whole-class Participatory Action Research (PAR) EntreMundos project. The scratching of pens and pencils against sheets of paper are the only sounds that break the silence throughout the classroom. Students are one day removed from the culmination of their project, a presentation to the school’s Steering Committee (i.e., school leadership team composed of administrators, department chairs, counselors, and teachers), community members, parents, and other students. After five minutes, students stop writing and share what they wrote in their respective groups. The classroom bursts with the sound of voices eager to share their experiences after months of dedicated and difficult work seeking to transform their campus into a more equitable and socially just institution for all students. I ask for volunteers to share aloud to the rest of the class.

Instantly, Zaier1 stands up:

During this process, I’ve changed a lot because everywhere I go, I see things more clearly. I see the injustice when before I wouldn’t… and now that I can see it, it’s←169 | 170→ easier for me to stop it. I’m glad we did PAR2 because now I can help my school and community. I see the...

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