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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A mic to the margin : opening up spaces for alternate voices in schooling Aura, Quynh


Alternate programs within schools are spaces born of alternate views and the recognition that mainstream schooling does not fully engage all students. Such programs harbour students who have come to be known as “marginalized,” among a plethora of other labels, such as: at-risk, disenfranchised, drop-out, handicapped, not meeting expectations, falling between the cracks, impoverished, disadvantaged, remedial, delinquent. Rather than becoming a place of deficit, the site of alternate settings can be a space of transformation where students begin to find their voice. In this study, former alternate school students engage in dialogue with their former teacher to (re)-explore their path within the alternate setting in writing and narrative within the methodological frames of critical pedagogy and narrative inquiry. Whispers from the margin appear as students enter alternate settings and begin to reflect upon their stories of pain and healing. In line with Hannah Arendt’s concept of primary natality, students within this educative alternate space are able to exercise their natality through self-reflection before entering the political world. As students confront their belatedness and natality in an old world, inquiry into their narrative shapes their interpretation of the world and their role within it. As student voices grow louder in the grip of narrative inquiry as a microphone for their story, transformation of Self leads to the responsibility of Arendt’s political natality and Paulo Freire’s praxis and obligation towards humanity. On this transformative platform, students stand at the intersections of social, political, and educative tensions and begin to hold a megaphone to a narrative that can continue to reflect the imaginings of alternate views from the margin.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada