Sharon Ravitch discusses youth participatory action research at GPN Speaker Series talk

June 3, 2024

The Global Possibility Network recently hosted a talk by Penn GSE Professor of Practice Sharon Ravitch as part of its speaker series. Ravitch's presentation, which took place on May 10, engaged the Penn GSE professional and academic community with her pioneering work in youth participatory action research.

Titled “Global Youth Leadership and Participatory Action Research,” Ravitch’s talk showcased her extensive experience and projects that span across diverse cultural contexts. She emphasized the transformative potential of participatory action research in fostering youth leadership and agency.

A significant portion of the talk focused on Ravitch’s collaboration with Chloe Cannon on the Eighth Fire Collective, an initiative that integrates Indigenous knowledge systems with Western frameworks to address climate justice. Ravitch described their work with the Initial Anishinaabe Tribe in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, where they are piloting participatory projects to curate and integrate sustainable climate and livelihood practices.

Ravitch also shared insights from her long-term involvement with the Seeds for Progress Foundation in Nicaragua. Since 2009, she has been working to infuse technology and constructivist teacher professional development in rural schools, benefiting the children of coffee farm workers. The initiative, which started with 16 schools, aims to scale educational innovations across the country and beyond, addressing the challenges of forced migration and fostering educational equity.

Attendees from the Penn GSE community and beyond were particularly inspired by Ravitch’s emphasis on youth as central knowledge leads and agents of change. She underscored the critical role of youth in shaping and leading participatory action research projects, ensuring that their voices and perspectives are integral to the development and implementation of educational and community initiatives.