Upcoming Student Identity Research

There are many good reasons to explore the barriers that students experience as they pursue their interests and education as pre-adolescents and adolescents. At foundry10, we believe that if we can identify the challenges students face in relation to how they move through the world, we can better address these stress points to make access to educational resources more equitable for all students.

Sufficient research already exists regarding the barriers that students face in their educational pursuit; however, this research is largely based upon rigid demographic components such as gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. We feel that this way of viewing students’ educational journey is incomplete. It often fails to address the nuanced and fluid nature of how many students view the different facets of their identity. Since previous research has addressed barriers in a purely objective manner, we want to expand the way we look at them to gain a more complete and comprehensive understanding of the way students’ perceptions of their identity impact the way they access and interact with their education.

Listening to students directly is a great way to better discern how they experience aspects of their identity in our modern society and education system. Through a series of qualitative surveys and interviews, we plan to begin furthering our understanding of how the many different aspects of a complex concept like identity impact how students navigate their educational landscape. We also hope to pinpoint areas in which we can remove or lessen some of these barriers in our own programs and suggest modifications to other educators.

We know that identity and social justice causes related to identity are at the forefront of students’ minds as several of our intern teams have focused their student-led projects around exploring aspects of their identity, such as gender or culture. In addition, other intern projects have sought to directly raise awareness around challenges associated with different identities, e.g. homelessness among trans-youth, women’s issues, gentrification etc. Projects like this have highlighted the importance of how identities play an important role in the educational experiences of students.

Our student surveys and interviews will take place during January-March 2017. If you are interested in having your middle or high school students participate in the study or if you would like to discuss the idea of perceptions of identities and barriers further, please contact us at info@foundry10.org.