ON THE EDGES: MARGINALIZED YOUTH & ‘NEW’ 21ST CENTURY LEARNING
York University (CANADA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:This talk will examine ‘at risk’ youth in secondary Canadian schools from a feminist theoretical perspective. Much of the literature on ‘at risk’ youth is devoted to the question: “why are boys not doing well at school”? In particular, young black male students and new immigrant male students are the principle subject of current studies of ‘risk in educational research. This paper, however, concentrates on the contemporary situation of “at risk” girls, a population far less-well studied, whose chances of academic success are impeded by variables that particularly involve socioeconomic status (SES), race and sexuality. These are girls who are not succeeding, who are dropping out and who are considered “problems” in schools. The presentation begins with a review of current educational literature, including work from scholars in both Canada and the United States to identify who are the girls at greatest risk of educational failure, and how SES race and sexuality impact the degree of “risk” for female students? What are teachers doing to help keep these students in school and to support their success? In recent years, girls, overall, have outdone boys academically in almost all subjects and yet those who are not able to succeed are almost invisible in the system, and in the research literature. The contemporary turn towards STEM, digital technologies and computational skills increases the likelihood that educational engagement, and school success, will further decline for this already-neglected population, in effect ‘reversing’ the trend towards gender equity programs that have contributed towards the increase in girls educational success over the last 2 decades, “retrieving” the math/science focus of the 1950’s and 60’s ‘space race’ educational policies historically associated with girls underachievement, not only at school, but domestically and in the workforce.
Keywords: 'at risk' youth, girls, race, STEM.