The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy

Proyecto Latin@ on stage and under the magnifying glass: The possibilities and limitations of a high-profile institutionally sponsored youth participatory action research project

Cristina Alexandra Guerrero, Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández, Mónica Rosas, Elizabeth Guerrero


While many educators committed to critical pedagogy must find ways to do their work “off the grid and under the radar,” there are instances in which conditions allow for projects to be implemented with institutional supports and resources. While these conditions are unusual, it is important to understand both the possibilities and limitations of such opportunities and to consider what they teach us both about critical pedagogical approaches as well as the educational institutions within which we work. In this article, we turn the spotlight on “Proyecto Latin@”, a collaborative project implemented under the auspices of the University of Toronto and the Toronto District School Board. This partnership, particularly with respect to the YPAR phase of this unique study, has engendered much public attention as well as institutional, community, and public scrutiny. Using the key tenets of YPAR as our theoretical framework, we provide a general overview of our work with Latin@ students, which was implemented as a senior social science credit course. We discuss some of the tensions that arise in doing YPAR under such institutional constraints, and take up the challenges and possibilities of conducting research with, by, and for youths while “on stage and under the magnifying glass.” Particular challenges that we will discuss include: public expectations, community and media perceptions, negotiations of our roles as project co-facilitators, and the tensions that arise when attempting to embody the youth-centred principles of YPAR while delivering a senior social science credit course.


youth participatory action research; critical pedagogy; urban schooling

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