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Open Access Publications from the University of California


InterActions is an open access journal hosted by the eScholarship initiative of the California Digital Library, edited and managed by graduate students, based at the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. Our publication’s authors foster an open and critical dialogue with readers and colleagues through applying diverse social justice frameworks to the discussion of pressing issues in the fields of education and information.


“I've Never Heard of the Word Pedagogy Before”: Using Liberatory Pedagogy to Forge Hope for Teachers in Our Nation's Public Schools

This paper describes an initiative that engages urban high school students, pre-service teachers, and university professors in liberatory practice. Rooted in Freirian pedagogy and using Participatory Action Research as a methodological tool, this initiative aims to provide opportunities for democratic engagement of all parties by forging dialogue, modeling liberatory pedagogy, and raising the critical consciousness of future teachers, particularly those committed to serving low-income children of color in our nation’s public schools. Implications for teacher development and partnerships between universities and K-12 schools are considered.

Cultural Probes in Transmigrant Research: A Case Study

Cultural probes are a relatively new method of data collection which have been used extensively in design-based research since their initial inception by Gaver, Dunne, and Pacenti in 1999. Based on notions of “uncertainty, play, exploration and subjective interpretation” (Gaver, Boucher, Pennington, & Walker, 2004, p. 53), cultural probes are purposefully designed packages of mixed-media materials, such as disposable cameras, diaries, photo albums, postcards, and tape recorders, which are given to participants to explore and complete in their daily environments. In this paper, I will discuss and evaluate the adaptation of cultural probes for use in a qualitative study on transnational migration. Through discussion and reflective analysis of my experiences using probes for research on international students who become skilled migrants, I will make some suggestions on how probes can enhance and enrich data when used alongside more traditional qualitative methods such as in-depth interviews.

Cuba’s Education System: A Beacon of Light in Latin America Facing an Uncertain Future

While the international community, through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is promoting a global policy of Education for All (EFA), Cuba stands out as a beacon to other developing countries that have so far been unable to achieve their EFA goals. This paper presents a regional quantitative comparison of eleven Latin American and Caribbean countries—Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela—showing that Cuba excels in comparison to her neighboring Latin American and Caribbean countries in a majority of measurable characteristics of education implementation and outcomes. Cuba is also shown to have the highest overall UNESCO EFA ranking among Latin American and non-English speaking Caribbean countries and the only one currently meeting the UNESCO EFA goals. This paper will also show, in contrast, that the government of the United States has published highly detailed and specific plans to appropriate and substantially transform Cuba's education system given the political opportunity. With the changes in Cuba's leadership and apparent anticipation by the United States government of potential political instability in Cuba's foreseeable future, along with inexplicable inconsistencies between Cuba's outstanding education record and the recommendations by the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, it is important and relevant to ask the question, "Why does the United States want to interfere in Cuba's education system, and what is potentially to be lost?"

PsychoGeography as Teaching Tool: Troubled Travels Through an Experimental First-Year Seminar

This article is a critical reflection on the effectiveness of an experimental teaching tool for the college classroom. In an experimental seminar, students are asked to wander around—across campus, in the city of the college, in their respective hometowns, and in shopping malls. By describing and theorizing their own experiences in “travelogues” students draw attention to highly political and often contentious issues, i.e., questions of class, social position, gender, race, agency, and the body. This article critically analyzes the successes and limits of such a project. Drawing on bell hooks’ theories, it suggests a pedagogy of space that demands that the teacher and the student confront, transgress, and transform the psychogeographies that structure, confuse, and complicate our lives.

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