El Monte High School Teacher Presents Thesis at Annual Conference
By invitation, El Monte High School history teacher Juan Raygoza presented his UCLA master’s thesis at the annual American Education Research Association Conference held in Vancouver, Canada.
Raygoza’s thesis investigated the potential of using Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) with his 10th grade honors world history students. The students worked on a research project where they investigated inequality and injustice in their own communities, “while learning about the Vietnam War as a just or unjust war.”
“Documenting my students’ progress, I found they demonstrated the ability to use YPAR and learned valuable research skills while also applying a critical lens to their own lives and world,” said Raygoza.
He discusses his findings in a paper entitled “A Lethal Weapon, Youth Participatory Research and Her/History Students.”
“My thesis came out of a year-long study on the use of YPAR in my 2010-11 tenth grade honors world history class at Locke High School in South Los Angeles,” said Raygoza. “YPAR is an approach to research which states that students are experts of their own knowledge and are capable of engaging in relevant and empowering research to become agents of change in their communities. My students focused on school culture for their research project.”
Raygoza’s thesis looked not only on his ability to structure and facilitate a youth research project in class, but also on “my students’ ability to acquire critical research skills and develop a project to analyze their school and present an action plan for meaningful change.”
“The presentation went great,” said Raygoza. “Academic experts in the field of Youth Participatory Action Research, Julio Cammarota and Shawn Ginwright, were present at my presentation in addition to several other educators.”
The American Educational Research Association (AERA), founded in 1916, is concerned with improving the educational process by encouraging scholarly inquiry related to education and evaluation and by promoting the dissemination and practical application of research results.