“We Are the Future”: Critical Inquiry and Social Action in the Classroom

This study explored how engaging in critical inquiry through Project-Based Inquiry (PBI) Global fostered social action with high school students. Drawing on theoretical perspectives from critical inquiry and social action and employing a collective case study approach, we focused on six diverse students from two of the 18 teams who participated in a PBI Global examining global water and sanitation over a two-month period. Data sources included semi-structured student interviews, students’ posts and uploads in a shared writing space, and students’ multimodal products of learning. Three themes emerged from the analysis across the data sources: synergistic collaboration, critical analysis and creation of multimodal texts, and understanding global and local interdependence to take social action. The discussion illuminates how students’ engagement in critical inquiry and social action ignite the emergence of Freire’s notion of critical consciousness.

Spires, H., Himes, M., Lee, C. C., & Gambino, A. (2021). "We are the future": Critical inquiry and social action in the classroom. Journal of Literacy Research, 53(2), 219-241. https://doi.org/10.1177/1086296X211009283.