A Mobile Writing Studio: Exploring the Cultivation of Self And Digital Literacy Practices of Court-involved Youth in An Alternative to Detention Program
By: Kristine Rodriguez Kerr
Published: 2014
Uploaded: 01/11/2018
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2014 (May) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: adolescent literacy, Digital Literacy Practices, juvenile justice, Multimodal Composing, Multimodal Pedagogy, Writing Education.

Description/Abstract: Using ethnographic and case study methods, this qualitative dissertation study explored how court-involved youth communicate and document their experiences in and across an Alternative to Detention Program (ATDP) through the engagement of multimodal composing practices within creative writing and storytelling workshops. Combining practices of cosmopolitan-minded education with concepts of multimodality and digital literacies in work that was both for and with court-involved youth, these creative writing and storytelling workshops were known to ATDP staff and participants as the `Mobile Writing Studio.' Occurring across two physical (and one online) spaces, the Mobile Writing Studio workshops invited participants to engage writing as an exercise for the cultivation of self with an emphasis on drafts, discussions, and developing a practice of writing. Pushing beyond skill-based orientations, writing as a practice for the cultivation of self invites youth to reflect artfully and strive to understand, share, and examine their experiences and the world. As both an educational researcher and the workshop facilitator of the Mobile Writing Studio, I worked to position these creative writing workshops as one way for youth to make themselves, their experiences, and their beliefs known through the authoring of a variety of multimodal texts. That is, I understood `authored texts' as occurring across online and offline spaces and including forms of posting, note- and list-making, as well as other modes of expression in addition to pen-on-paper writing. Seeking to provide rich descriptions of the lived-experiences of court-involved youth as they navigated between institutions of justice and education, it is my hope that by situating this dissertation within the language of knowing and knowing differently that I am able to advocate for a pedagogical stance that values multiple ways of knowing in educational spaces and, ultimately, schools. In addition to the pedagogical implications for educational spaces, I advocate for the reform of rigid zero tolerance policies in schools and hope to shift the perception of these youth as subjects to be acted upon and controlled, to an understanding of these youth as individuals who should be involved and engaged as collaborators in their own education and development of future trajectories.