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Analyzing Everyday Life at School Through Lenses of Feminist Ethnography  

Elina Lahelma, Tarja Tolonen, and Sirpa Lappalainen

Feminist ethnography in education has in so-called Western countries developed in the late 1900s into a research approach with its own identifiable characteristics. Starting points are in feminist theorizations that draw from perspectives of different marginal groups, raised in the context of cultural radicalization of the 1960s and 1970s. In Finland, feminist ethnography took the first steps in the 1990s and achieved a stable position in educational research in the early 2000s. This emerging research has provided possibilities for subtle analysis in educational institutions on gendered, spatial and embodied practices, which have impact on intersectional inequalities. A theoretical and methodological invention developed by the first Finnish feminist ethnographers in the 1990s is differentiation between the official, informal, and physical layers of the school. Teaching and learning, the curriculum, pedagogy, and formal hierarchies belong to the official layer. Interaction among teachers and students, including informal hierarchies and youth cultures, takes place in the informal layer. The physical school refers to temporality, spatiality, and embodiment. These layers are intertwined in the everyday life of the school; the distinctions between them are analytical. This differentiation is one illustration of nuanced ways to conduct analysis of gendered, classed, and racialized processes and practices in schools. This analytical tool was elaborated in the large ethnographic project, Citizenship, Difference and Marginality in Schools—With Special Reference to Gender (1993–1998). The project was conducted in schools in Finland, collaborating with a similar project in the United Kingdom. The collective project was conceptualized in comparative reflections on contemporary educational politics and policies in both countries and included cross-cultural ethnographic analysis. The layers were used as tools in constructing the theoretical-methodological layout of the project and in focusing the ethnographic gaze in the field, as well as in analysis, interpretation, and writing. Using the layers of the school as an analytic tool passed on to later studies and have further been developed in novel ways, demonstrating the usefulness of collaborative feminist work in national and international networks.

Article

Asian American and Pacific Islander Children  

Valerie Ooka Pang, Benjamin Chang, Yoon K. Pak, Audrey Hokoda, Noreen Naseem Rodríguez, and Esther June Kim

Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are often invisible to others. AAPI children are even more ignored in schools. They comprise many different groups with diverse cultures, languages, values, geographical roots, and ethnicities. This is why we have chosen to write about AAPI young people and not to limit our discussions to Asian Americans. We believe in inclusivity and so use the pan-Asian term of AAPIs. Some children may be Guamanian American, Thai American, Taiwanese American, Samoan American, Hawaiian American, Fijian American, Filipinx American, or a combination of several ethnic or racial backgrounds. Not all AAPI youth are the same. This is a major AAPI issue that teachers need to understand. Often teachers hold the misconception that most AAPIs are Chinese American. This is not true. One of the reasons that teachers and the general public are not aware of the educational, social, or psychological needs of AAPI children is because of the model minority myth. Not all AAPI students do well in school. Research has shown that young people have different academic strengths and vulnerabilities. These distinctions may be due to many variables such as ethnic membership, class status, parent education, and language proficiency in English. The model minority stereotype hurts and conceals the hardships that many AAPIs face, from low self-esteem to academic limitations. In addition, there are AAPI students who must deal with trauma from microaggressions that young people face because they are bullied due to accents, differences in physical appearance, and cultural conflicts. Others have come to the United States experiencing trauma as refugees who fled civil persecution or war. In addition, students who are LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) and AAPI may have to deal with the trauma of homophobia. Teachers must be able to identify ways to reduce trauma in schools like using culturally relevant/responsive strategies to help lessen student depression and anxieties. There are numerous approaches that teachers can take to develop compassionate classrooms in a democracy where all students are accepted and respected. They can teach compassion and kindness. Educators can teach about the contributions of various AAPI civil rights role models such as Grace Lee Boggs, Larry Itliong, Kiyoshi Kuromiya, Philip Vera Cruz, Patsy Mink, and Yuri Kochiyama in the curriculum. Teaching about civil rights activists demonstrates to children and adults that AAPIs have been actively fighting for the rights of all. In addition, teachers can integrate AAPI children’s literature so students are aware of cultural values, experiences, and knowledge that has arisen from AAPI communities. All students should have the opportunity to see photos and drawings of various AAPI people in picturebooks and other texts. AAPI students are not super students; they are not math whiz kids. They are Americans like anyone else, with strengths and limitations.

Article

Indigenous Education, Decolonization, and Reinvigorating the Work of Our Ancestors  

Hollie A. Kulago and Angela M. Jaime

Indigenous peoples have always had their educational strategies and systems in place to pass on their Ways of Knowing from one generation to the next. Indigenous education is an ongoing process in which the curriculum comes from the land, language, and community from where their ancestors emerged. Many systems and Ways of Knowing have been disrupted by settler colonialism’s persistent attempts to erase Indigenous peoples from the lands and mainstream narrative. Indigenous decolonization of education intervenes the assimilative frameworks of western education in order to work toward Indigenous sovereignty of the minds, lands, peoples, and nations.

Article

Changing Perspectives on Adolescence(s)  

Jennifer A. Vadeboncoeur, Paulo Padilla-Petry, Natalia Panina-Beard, and Surita Jhangiani

While descriptions of transitions between childhood and adulthood have existed for millennia, “adolescence” was first defined as a universal developmental stage characterized by instability, conflict, and risk-taking in the early 20th century in American psychology. Research has challenged this view of adolescence—as a biologically determined, universal stage marked by turbulence—and has exposed the assumptions underlying its characterization. Much of this scholarship highlights limitations in the theoretical and methodological assumptions that form the foundation for how research was and is conducted, as well as the claims made from research. The lack of acknowledgment of the ways in which history, society, and culture influence definitions of adolescence and the persistence of historical biases against young people may mask the needs and interests of particular groups of young people and individuals. Reviewing current research in the developmental sciences, with insights from various disciplines, highlights a growing awareness of the significance of interdisciplinarity and the limitations of the current body of scholarship. There is a significant need for theoretical and methodological perspectives that make visible the complexity of learning and developing into and through historical, social, and cultural environments, and the ways in which conditions specific to these environments impact children and youths. Even more urgent, however, is the need for approaches that attend to the ways in which dominant perspectives regarding culture, “race” and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender and sexuality are systematically woven into environments, creating different learning and developmental opportunities for youths. Conceptualizing adolescences and inquiring into variations in the lived experiences of young people requires conceptual and methodological innovation, attention to the ways in which the conduct of research affects the outcomes of research, critical reflexivity on the part of researchers, and balancing research foci to include conducting research with young people as a method for understanding the experiences of groups of young people and individual youths in studies of participation and meaning-making. Cultural-historical approaches, emerging for almost a century, offer both theoretical and methodological advances for making visible how children and young people grow into and through their historical, social, and cultural environments. As individuals and their environments are inseparable, these approaches describe and explain how young people both shape and are shaped by the ecologies within which they are entangled. Further, these approaches acknowledge—and inquire into—the ways in which dominant perspectives regarding culture, “race” and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender and sexuality frame ecologies and are accommodated, resisted, and/or transformed by youths.

Article

Indigenous Knowledges and Methodologies in Higher Education  

Beth Leonard

Indigenous knowledges (IK) are complex, intact, resilient, and adaptable systems generated by and through diverse Indigenous peoples with long-term ties to place and land. Key challenges include ongoing perceptions of IK as primitive, isolated, and/or static knowledge, in spite of research that confirms Indigenous knowledges as [w]holistic, dynamic, and scientific. Enduring methodological questions include how to effectively Indigenize or shape Indigenous spaces in higher education for the benefit of Indigenous students. As surface descriptions of IK and Indigenous methodologies are insufficient for an authentic understanding, specific examples are included that illustrate how Alaska Native knowledges and methodologies are presented in higher education. Concluding sections include a brief case study of the University of Alaska system’s engagement of Indigenous knowledges and content; this section also considers issues of control and constraints of authentic integration of Alaska Native knowledges in a Western higher education system.

Article

Reimagining Student Leadership Development in Urban Schools  

Lawrence Scott, Donna Druery, and Ashland Pingue

Urban Teen Summit (UTS) is a program that gives high school students the opportunity to amplify the voices of young leaders in search of viable solutions for their school and community progression. These student leaders illustrate efficacy and agency by identifying areas of improvement for their community and proactively develop and implement a community-wide, student-led conversation with stakeholders. Since the advent of UTS in 2016, more than 300 student leaders of color have been trained, and more than 2,000 students, parents, and community leaders have participated. The focus of UTS is to recruit students aged 15–18 years from high-poverty and underserved communities and give them the opportunity to acquire leadership skills that will benefit their communities in real time.

Article

Educational Strategies for Museums  

Elena Polyudova

In the rapidly changing world of the internet environment and social media expansion, the role of museum education has been revised and reformed to respond to the new digital and interconnected environment. In addition to academic publications, museum activities, and web and video materials, modern museums are developing new ways to meet current demands, including interactive exhibitions, integration with other disciplines, and virtual expositions. Museum professionals are encountering unprecedented challenges in engaging a diverse audience in vital and meaningful learning experiences. Executing new tasks in the achievement of the museum’s education mission takes interdepartmental teamwork and use of new technologies. It also requires new approaches to rigorous planning, implementation, and assessment. New terminology and strategies have been developed to substantiate new approaches to museums’ activities and reflect what is transpiring in modern museum studies and educational experiments. The focus is on integrative and communicative approaches rather than preservation of collections of artifacts. Modern museum curators are actively engaging in dialogue with educational practitioners and specialists at conferences, in academic publications, and through other forums. Museum education is evolving from a source of sacred knowledge to an open source for diversity and personal development.

Article

Schooling in Racist America  

Zeus Leonardo

Education is both a racial and class project. This means that a multidimensional theory of educational stratification is necessary if an accurate appraisal of schooling’s modern appearance in capitalist, racialized states is central to the research endeavor. Critiques of capitalism are found in critical pedagogy and Marxist studies of education since the 1970s, which argue that schooling’s intellectual division of labor mirrors the material structures of a capitalist division of labor. In addition, the advent of critical race theory in education since 1995 provides compelling evidence that schooling is not only an ideological apparatus of the capitalist state but also equally of the racist state. Together, developing a critical class theory and critical race theory of education offers a more complete explanation of educational stratification in order to understand its processes and perhaps ways to intervene in them.

Article

Critical Race Theory and STEM Education  

Terrell R. Morton

Critical race theory (CRT) is a framework that attends to the prevalence, permanence, and impact of racism embedded within and manifested through the policies, practices, norms, and expectations of U.S. social institutions and how those concepts have differentially impacted the lived experiences of Black and Brown individuals. CRT bore out of the legal studies—complemented by philosophical and sociological fields—and has since been applied to a multitude of disciplines including education. Composed of several tenets or principles, CRT approaches to research, scholarship, and praxis take a structural, systematic, or systemic perspective rather than an individual or isolated perspective. CRT provides scholars and practitioners the ability to acknowledge and challenge structural racism and intersectional forms of oppression as foundational to the perceived and experienced inequities outlined by various constituents. In providing such a perspective, CRT facilitates the opportunity for future ideologies that promote radical and transformative change to systems and structures that perpetuate racial and intersectional-based oppression. STEM education—representing the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from inter- and intradisciplinary perspectives—constitutes the norms, ideologies, beliefs, and practices hallmarked by and within these fields, examined both separately as individual disciplines (e.g., science) and collectively (i.e., STEM). These concepts comprise what is noted as the culture of STEM. Scholarship on STEM education, broadly conceived, discusses the influence and impact of STEM culture across P–20+ education on access, engagement, teaching, and learning. These components are noted through examining student experiences; teachers’ (faculty) engagement, pedagogy, and practice; leadership and administration’s implementation of the aforementioned structures; and the creation and reinforcement of policies that regulate STEM culture. Critical race theoretical approaches to STEM education thus critique how the culture of STEM differentially addresses the needs and desires of various racially minoritized communities in and through STEM disciplines. These critiques are based on the fact that the power to disenfranchise individuals is facilitated by the culture of whiteness embedded within STEM culture, a perspective that is codified and protected by society to favor and privilege White people. CRT in STEM education research tackles the influence and impact of racism and intersectional oppression on racially minoritized individuals in and through STEM by revealing the manifestation and implications of racism and intersectional oppression on racially minoritized individuals’ STEM interactions. CRT in STEM also provides opportunities to reclaim and create space that more appropriately serves racially minoritized individuals through the use of counterstories that center the lived experience of said individuals at the crux of epistemological and ontological understandings, as well as the formation of policies, programs, and other actions. Such conceptions strive to challenge stakeholders within STEM to alter their individual and collective beliefs and perspectives of how and why race is a contending factor for access, engagement, and learning in STEM. These conceptions also strive to challenge stakeholders within STEM to reconfigure STEM structures to redress race-based inequity and oppression.

Article

Doubly Reflexive Ethnography and Collaborative Research  

Gunther Dietz and Laura Selene Mateos Cortés

Doubly reflexive ethnography is a collaborative research methodology developed in the social and educational sciences through a combination of classical ethnographic methods of participant observation and lifeworld-oriented interviewing, on the one hand, and participatory methods of co-interpreting, co-theorizing, and co-validating empirical research results together with the collaborating actors, on the other hand. Double reflexivity is defined here as the result of a dialogical, collaborative conversation between different actors involved in educational research processes, starting from the research design, problematization and delimitation, going on through a cyclical accompaniment via observations and interviews, and culminating in a dialogical, often collective data analysis, which leads to collaborative and diversified ways of assessing, validating, and evaluating research results. This doubly reflexive approach integrates and relates the researcher reflexivity with the reflexivity contributed by the collaborating actors, be they organizations or institutions active in an educational field. Doubly reflexive ethnography maintains close relations with the main features of ethnography and classical ethnographic methods; it has transited from originally and historically extractive ethnographic practices toward collaborative and participatory alternatives of research methodologies. The key semantic, pragmatic, and syntactic dimensions of doubly reflexive ethnography are identified and illustrated as those dimensions that allow for a spiral, cyclical research and collaboration process that includes visual, observational data; verbal, interview data; and textual, documentary data in an integrated system of collaborative-ethnographic methods. This system integrates and triangulates diverse sources of information, diverse degrees of data abstraction, and diverse degrees of researcher involvement, thus avoiding and overcoming conventional dichotomies of quantitative versus qualitative research and of unilateral, extractive versus proactive, participatory strategies.