Bottomup Social Development
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Our strategy for 2018-2020 takes student perspective seriously and is based on the critical assumption that students have the agency and capacity to effect social change in their schools. Our strategy is a pedagogical one that has its foundations in youth participatory action research methodology (YPAR). Adopting a strategy which does not discount the relationship between private troubles and broader social issues and patterns also implies a shift away from traditional explanations of student disengagement which focus solely on the individual. We should go “beyond the traditional pathological or patronising view by asserting that young people have the capacity and agency to analyse their social context, to engage in critical research collectively, and to challenge and resist forces impeding their possibilities for liberation.” (Cammarota & Fine, 2008) All the pedagogical tools which we aim to utilise will contribute to building space for critical inquiry and praxis. The ultimate aim is to equip students to analyse the problem within context, to develop and implement solutions, to critically evaluate solutions and then to continue the praxis cycle. Though the process begins as an action group exercise, it ultimately leads into a school-wide campaign that benefits all stakeholders. They will have learned how to exercise collective imagination to envision futures that are better for their school, believing that they can contribute to making the world a better place.