Rewriting Struggles as Strength: Young Adults' Reflections on the Significance of Their High School Poetry Community.

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    • Abstract:
      In a moment when schools are failing to meet the needs of many youth, recent research has suggested that relational and art-based pedagogies, such as spoken word poetry, offer possibilities for repurposing classrooms to meet the needs of students who have experienced marginalization in schools and other institutions. This article contributes to the literature in critical pedagogy and youth spoken word by taking a retrospective perspective to analyze what a group of urban youth who experienced failure in schools remembered as meaningful from a high school poetry class they identified as empowering. Using case study and interview methods to unpack participants' memories of their poetry class as early adults, the study identifies that the poetry community served as a turning point for many youth because it allowed them to nurture healing relationships in the context of a school community that helped them shatter institutional silence about various forms of oppression and trauma and sparked changes in the ways they saw themselves as individuals and community members. Through participation in the structures and rituals of this literacy-learning community, participants remembered developing agentive identities and transforming their struggles into sources of strength. That this class and the writing practices it engendered continued to hold meaning for this group ofyouth, who had otherwise held generally negative narratives about schooling, advances current perspectives on the role of nontraditional approaches to literacy instruction in schools. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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