Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name



Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Thomas C. Pedroni


The primary purpose of this critical qualitative action research project is to analyze the possibilities, contradictions, and limitations of youth organizers as essential partners in teacher education. More specifically, this research project examines the impact of designing and implementing a community-based social studies methods course alongside youth organizers and their adult allies. There is limited research in teacher education literature about partnering with youth-centered and youth-led grassroots organizations. In addition, research pertaining to community-based teacher education does not adequately affirm and center the voices and lived experiences of youth organizers who are social change agents in schools and communities. In turn, this action research project acknowledges and disrupts existing systemic barriers in order to bring teacher candidates and youth organizers together through dialogue and reflection for transformative action. This process enhances teacher candidates’ understanding and use of community-based pedagogy while supporting youth organizers in their social justice work within schools and communities. Informed by participatory and community-based methodologies, the findings of this action research project provide implications for teacher educators who are seeking to foster collaborative partnerships with youth-centered community organizations and intergenerational community members. In this way, teacher educators may curate community-based teacher education programs that are stimulated by and benefit local schools and communities. Importantly, the collection and analysis of data sources is reciprocal and accountable to participants in order to support their ongoing efforts to grow as organizers, educators, and community members. Such practices are informed by place-conscious and culturally sustaining pedagogies in order to seek and sustain transformative social change through education.