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Title: The Social Formation of Leadership in a Youth Activism Group
Authors: Kirshner, Ben
Issue Date: Jun-2006
Publisher: International Society of the Learning Sciences
Citation: Kirshner, B. (2006). The Social Formation of Leadership in a Youth Activism Group. In Barab, S. A., Hay, K. E., & Hickey, D. T. (Eds.), The International Conference of the Learning Sciences: Indiana University 2006. Proceedings of ICLS 2006, Volume 1 (pp. 349-355). Bloomington, Indiana, USA: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Abstract: In recent years policymakers and educators have called for greater youth voice in school reform and neighborhood revitalization. Few studies, however, have examined adult assistance strategies that enable youth to assume responsibility for complex campaigns or formulate policy proposals. Drawing on two years of ethnographic fieldwork in an urban after- school leadership group, this article examines how adults and youth jointly created a "youth-led" environment, in which youth took responsibility for making decisions and monitoring their work. Data analysis focuses on the cultural tools that youth appropriated in order to assume leadership of the project, including group agreements, group organizing routines, and a youth empowerment ideology. The paper concludes that to support youth voice adults must do more than just fade into the background, but must also seed the learning community with tools. Implications address how adults can help young people lead efforts to improve their schools and neighborhoods.
Appears in Collections:ICLS 2006

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