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Dr. Noah Golden Awarded Grant to Research the Role of Instruction in Adolescent Learners' Identity Work

Published November 27, 2019

Dr. Noah Asher Golden has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation for his current project entitled, "Supporting marginalized students’ (re)positioning: Investigating the role of instruction in adolescent learners’ identity work”. Dr. Golden shared more about this project:


Many students of color who are working-class or experiencing poverty must navigate racialized, gendered, and classed hierarchies alongside labels positioning them as “bad” students as they work to earn a high school diploma and enact desired post-secondary life paths. Research has established that the ways these adolescent scholars are positioned in formal learning spaces can have significant consequences for learning opportunities and both academic and social outcomes. Enacted categories of identity (e.g., “at-risk” youth, English Language Learner) and institutional philosophies can shape student self-perception of educational worthiness, career path appropriateness, and college/high school graduation readiness. What remains under-researched is learner efforts at (re)positioning, identity work undertaken in attempts to be “read” differently in and beyond formal learning spaces. This positioning matters because learners’ sense of self and possibility determines opportunities taken or forgone. Through this study, I am currently investigating the role of instruction in learners’ identity work at one successful alternative academic program to build knowledge on why and how this program is working at the micro-level. Through analysis of classroom observations and narratives collected during after-school focus groups and individual interviews, this study investigates instructional practices as they relate to possibilities for learner (re)positioning.