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Becoming Critical Researchers

Literacy and Empowerment for Urban Youth

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Ernest Morrell

Becoming Critical Researchers analyzes the findings of a two-year ethnographic study of the apprenticeship of urban youth as critical researchers of popular culture. Drawing on new literacy studies, critical pedagogy, and sociocultural learning theory, this book documents the changes in student participation within a critical research-focused community of practice. These changes include the acquisition and development of academic and critical literacies and the resulting translations of these literacies into increased academic performance, greater access to college, and commitment to social action. This book inserts critical and postmodern theory into the conception and evaluation of classroom practice and its findings suggest that programs centering on the lived experiences of teens can indeed achieve the goals of critical education, while also promoting academic achievement in urban schools.