The overarching objective of this project is to to be an ongoing collective community work that leads to positive changes at the individual level and the group level, given that there are important challenges to address in education. The Educational Needs Assessment project (accessed through the menu bar at the top) aims to explore participants’ educational needs and experiences in order to identify gaps between what people need and what existing educational structures are providing. The Writing the Warrior project (also accessible in the menu bar) aims to collect and share personal stories of participants’ educational experiences, focusing on what has shaped us as people and also what has shaped our expectations and visions of possibilities for the future, ourselves and our children. One purpose is to give voice to what has been lived as a form of verbalizing this for ourselves as well as as a counter response to the official versions of knowledge that, while as they are disseminated, create a type of “received truth” that in many cases does not reflect reality, or only reflects a small piece, of people’s experiences. Contrary to a knowledge-making process that starts from above, in the academy, this project seeks to create knowledge from the ground up, from the experiences lived and shared with the intention that this knowledge can support us in making positive change in our own lives and in society.
This project is based on the premise of Critical Theory, participatory action research, and autoethnography. Critical theory comes from the concept of kriticos originating (in Occidental form) as kriticos, which is defined as “the ability to argue and judge” by oneself (Luke, 2012). Critical literacy is “the use of … media to analyze, critique, and transform the norms and systems and regulatory practices that govern the social fields of everyday life” (Luke, 2012). According to Paulo Freire, considered as one of the visionary founders of critical pedagogy, true education is about “unpacking myths and distortions, and building new ways of knowing and acting throughout the world” (Luke, 2012) and founded his method Creating “cultural circles … with dialogue about the challenges and aspirations of the audience, and focused on” naming and renaming, narrating and understanding lives experienced in order to frame and solve real problems “(Luke, 2012). Participatory action research is a research approach aimed at collecting, analyzing and applying information for the purpose of social change, and the autoethnographic method is intended to give voice to the experiences and truths lived by the person and the meanings that the individual develops in relation to their experiences.
Participatory action research is a research approach aimed at collecting, analyzing and applying information for the purpose of social change, and the autoethnographic method is intended to give voice to the experiences and truths lived by the person and the meanings that the individual develops In relation to their experiences. Participatory action research is intended to be non-hierarchical. While one or more individuals may play the primary role of facilitating research, the goal is to engage participants in such a way that participants determine the course of research over time and all the needs and desires of participants are considered the fundamental objectives of research.
What Distinguishes Critical Methods, Autoethnography, and Active and Participatory Research of Traditional Research Methods
Much traditional research is based on the separation of the researcher from the participants, in which case the researcher is presumed to be essentially invisible and objective. This type of research requires little self-disclosure by the researcher, except for specific affiliations and sources of funding that could create conflicts of interest in research. Participatory action research, does not assume or even aim for objectivity on the part of the researcher, but instead embraces subjectivity and uses this epistemologically. By definition, in important part of participatory action research, the researcher is not invisible and is not supposed to be impartial. Instead, the investigator’s role in research is to continually analyze and consider his or her own perceptions and actions in conjunction with the totality of the research in the same way that it is done for all participants, and to do so places research within the systems and the forces from which it emerges.
Social research often involves collecting data from participants, oftentimes quantifiable data, such as income level or years of education, in order to statistically analyze this data to form predictions and make decisions. When conducted in a top-down fashion, these actions reflect the views of researchers and others with power to enact and frame the narratives, based on their perceptions about what people need and what they consider appropriate or beneficial. In contrast, participatory action research goes directly to the users, or “actors” who conduct, analyze, and reformulate the research and their practices, based on the assertion that people using educational systems are the ones who know best what would make the systems work better. This view considers that meaning is constructed locally, in the life of each individual, family, and community, each of which experiences some phenomena that are completely unique, as well as phenomena that reflect themes shared by many people. It is theorized that, while the experiences of each participant are unique, there will also be common themes that will be shared collectively, so that meaningful responses can be proposed that respond to the needs of many people. This research is collaborative !!! So it is meant to be made together! We are all needed as part of a movement to enact positive change!