Brenda Gomez

Podcasts and Posadas: Communal Linkages as Transformative Teaching Practices

Within California, there have been activist efforts to include Ethnic Studies as a graduation requirement for high schools to foster a more inclusive learning environment. A few studies of a one-year-long Ethnic Studies class in Pomona, CA show that teachers united with community members and taught a history that is reflective of students’ experiences. However, few explore how engaging in transformative learning processes and reimagining school settings impacts political mobilization among young adults. In this project, I investigate the factors within Ethnic Studies curricula in secondary schools that encourage young people in low-income cities to contribute to their communities through civic participation. I take the case of young people enrolled in Pomona High School’s Chicanx/Latinx Studies course to understand how they decide to participate and organize movements to improve their community. In order to investigate the role of Ethnic Studies in civic participation among youth, I will speak with educators and activists about the process of formulating Ethnic Studies courses and their key components that encourage students to engage in civic action. I will conduct interviews with Professors, teachers, and past students of the Pomona High School Ethnic Studies course model to explore how the course was carried out and how it impacted students’ civic awareness and actions. I will also conduct participant observations of the Chicana/o Latina/o Studies Course at Pomona High School. This qualitative study will allow sociologists, practitioners, and educators to understand how histories are taught, learned, and put into practice by young people in their navigation of formal education and community engagement.