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Youth Sociopolitical Development Inside and Outside of the Classroom: Making Sense of Varying Perspectives and Opportunities

Murray, Ira (2018) Youth Sociopolitical Development Inside and Outside of the Classroom: Making Sense of Varying Perspectives and Opportunities. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In this dissertation, I focus on students’ opportunities to engage in sociopolitical development both inside and outside of school. I focus on adolescent (age 13 to 19) students of color, particularly Black students. I interrogate what is known in the extant literature about how youth develop their sociopolitical consciousness and inclinations to engage in social action (chapter two), teachers’ beliefs about engaging students in dialogues about critical social issues (chapter three), students’ perceptions about how educators can support their development into engaged social actors (chapter four).
Findings from chapter two indicate that to be successful in helping youth develop their sociopolitical consciousness, educators should attend to three domains of sociopolitical development – critical reflection, sociopolitical motivation, and transformative social action – in ways that acknowledge the intersectional nature of all three components. In chapter three, I found that the racial composition of classrooms, rather than the racial identification of the teacher, was related to teachers’ beliefs about discussing racial violence with students. And, furthermore,
teachers who reported believing in talking about racial violence with students seemed less concerned about inviting emotional conversations into the classroom than non-believers, were attentive to students’ interests in having these conversations, and valued the experiential knowledge students of color possess as legitimate sources of data to be examined. In chapter four, findings indicated that adults can support the sociopolitical development of Black youth by creating mutually supportive environments, providing opportunities for youth to have their voices heard, and supporting holistic development of youth beyond their sociopolitical aims. This dissertation demonstrates the need for broader ecological considerations of youth sociopolitical development, in-depth interrogations of how educators’ beliefs shape opportunities for youth to engage around critical social issues, and deeper strategies to help educators integrate support for youth sociopolitical development into their professional practices.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Murray, Iraiem3@pitt.eduiem3
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMilner,
Committee MemberDelale-O'Connor,
Committee MemberAkiva,
Committee MemberHoward,
Date: 24 September 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 31 May 2018
Approval Date: 24 September 2018
Submission Date: 21 June 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 251
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Critical Consciousness Youth Development Sociopolitical Development Urban Education Black Students
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2018 19:49
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2018 19:49


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