Questioning Assumptions and Exploring Realities
Chapter 9: Finding Voice: Building Literacies and Communities Inside and Outside the Classroom
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Finding Voice: Building Literacies and Communities Inside and Outside the Classroom
Josh Schachter and Julie Kasper
What does it mean to find one’s voice? We—Julie Kasper, a public school educator, and Josh Schachter, a teaching artistcreated Finding Voice in 2006 at Catalina Magnet High School in Tucson, Arizona, as a literacy and visual arts program for refugee and immigrant youth in English Language Development (aka, ESL) classes. Catalina has the largest number of refugee students in Tucson Unified School District, and Arizona has the 8th-highest rate of refugee resettlement in the U.S. Through research, photography, writing and speaking out about critical social issues in their lives and communities, students develop their second language, literacy, and 21st century skills (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2013). Students direct the moves each class makes and the issues explored, and they decide how the work is shared and with whom. Finding Voice provides immigrant and refugee youth in a traditional public school setting—who are otherwise constrained by a four-hour model of English study required by Arizona state law—with critical opportunities for academic development, civic engagement and artistic expression.
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