Learning the language of resistance: Development of critical consciousness through youth participatory action research




Twining, Phillip

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The following critical ethnographic case study explores the potential for youth participatory action research (YPAR) to help youth move towards critical consciousness in the context of a nontraditional Pre-AP English Language Arts classroom at a traditional, test-heavy, comprehensive high school. Students are taught critical social theory through reading, writing, and discussion and then engage in critical inquiry to challenge internalized notions of meritocracy and position themselves as subjects of knowledge and social action. Analysis of interviews, surveys, field notes, student writing and teacher memos suggest when literacy is broadly defined in the Freirean concept of "reading the word, reading the world" literacy empowers students to make shifts in consciousness that challenge systems of inequity. Furthermore, development of critical consciousness brings recognition to young people's community cultural wealth which in turn can be utilized toward liberation.


This item is available only to currently enrolled UTSA students, faculty or staff. To download, navigate to Log In in the top right-hand corner of this screen, then select Log in with my UTSA ID.


critical consciousness, critical research, sociopolitical development, student voice, youth participatory action research



Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching