Ernest Morrell & Jeffrey Duncan-Andrade, Principal Investigators
This study sets out to document the literacy practices of urban youth. Using a multi-method approach that combines surveys, interviews, literacy journals, and the collection and analysis of youth generated artifacts, the researchers hope to inform urban teacher professional development and classroom practice. Ultimately, the researchers hope to make connections between data-informed classroom practices that incorporate urban literacies, student academic achievement, and increased student motivation.
The first phase will consist of a comprehensive survey that will be delivered to n students across four major urban centers (Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area). Additionally, the researchers will conduct a series of interviews with students in these cities and ask a subset of students to keep literacy diaries for a week. Finally, the researchers will collect youth-generated artifacts created in non school environments (i.e. slam journals, writing, video footage, drawings, and graphic art).
During the second phase of the project, the researchers will develop a professional development program for teachers in these cities. Support will be provided by four research centers; one representing each metropolitan area; the Literacy Achievement Research Center (LARC) in Detroit; the Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access (IDEA) in Los Angeles; the Cesar Chavez Institute in San Francisco; and the Metropolitan Center for Urban and Global Studies in New York. Along with professional development tools that emanate from the initial phases of data collection, the researchers will also work with secondary teachers to develop classroom curricula that draw upon these data.
The third phase will consist of a series of design experiments where researchers will evaluate classrooms that are applying curricula that incorporate urban literacies. Researchers will examine videotaped classroom practices, samples of student work, and students’ scores on standardized tests to determine the impact of these curricular changes on student achievement. Additionally the researchers will rely on survey and interview data to determine the impact of the intervention on student attitudes.
The researchers plan to disseminate data collected from the project through various media and to multiple audiences. Initially the researchers will create a website to share survey data and curricula that are prepared by the participating teachers. Ultimately, the researchers will include examples of classroom practice along with a space on the website for teachers to share ideas and experiences via web logs. The researchers will also establish a log of successful video of lessons which will be accessible via the project website (see DIME Project and Annenberg Project). Additionally, the project investigators hope to produce short and feature-length digital documentaries that can be used as tools for urban teacher development (both pre-service teacher training and professional development). Finally, the researchers will generate more traditional products such as books, chapters, articles, and conference papers. Following is a proposed timeline for the Urban Literacies study:
*Development and Piloting of Survey instrument
*Developing and Piloting Interview Protocols
*Make contact with administrators in districts
*Score and Analyze Surveys
*Collect literacy artifacts
*Distribute Literacy Journals
*Data analysis from interviews, journals, and literacy artifacts
*Schedule Fall Professional development seminars
*Web site development;
*Late summer professional development workshops
*Begin teacher working groups
*Design Experiments in select classrooms
*Continue teacher working groups (virtually)
*Data Analysis and write up
* Writing for publication
*Possible writing for additional funding