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CAARE's role in promoting research with marginalized communities

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

“Going back to action research’s roots, let us share the power with the vulnerable and marginalized and assume our social, political, and ethical responsibility”

(Clausen & Black, 2020, p. 322)

In times of civil unrest and human rights movements in Canada amongst our racially marginalized communities, such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, it is important to use community-based research avenues to support and provide a space to acknowledge and value racialized communities. As a racialized academic who has had the honour and opportunity to be an active executive member on the Canadian Association for Action Research in Education (CAARE) for the past five years, it is with great delight that I share the wonderful opportunities this organization has created. CAARE was founded in 2014 as a Special Interest Group within the Canadian Society for Studies in Education (CSSE), and has since established itself as a strong and growing organization within the Canadian research community. CAARE provides opportunities to bring together academics, practitioners, graduate students, and community activist to present their work at the annual CSSE conference and have their insightful action research projects published as conference proceedings.

From the start, CAARE has collaborated with the long standing periodical, the Canadian Journal for Action Research (CJAR)to publish special issues that focus on influential topics which resonate with many communities including those that have been racially marginalized: ”Neoliberalism in Teacher Education” will be published in the Fall of 2020, while “Action Research and Indigenous Ways of Knowing” is slated for 2021. The journal is receptive and welcomes submissions that focus on community-based action research in addition to action research being used as a means of professional development, curriculum reform, and even democratic institutional change. As a member of its editorial board, I have seen CJAR grow in its scope of topics and global interest. Recently, we formed an international advisory panel of 16 members from all over the world. This panel is demonstrative of Canada’s growing connections with and to a wide and diverse set of communities globally.

I am very thankful for the opportunities that this young, closely intertwined community has provided for me. Working alongside all of the other CAARE executive/ CJAR editorial board members, I have felt energized in the work being done today and the support they have given me in helping to develop a research vision. As a critical practitioner researcher, who is dedicated to improving educational opportunities for all marginalized people, and especially racially marginalized students, I have recently written a chapter about the equity-based teacher education initiatives in a noteworthy published volume entitled, “The Future of Action Research in Education: A Canadian Perspective” (2020). In addition, I have recently begun a TRI-Council SSHRC national project, “A Critical and Comparative Exploration of Secondary School Social Justice Initiatives in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal” to reveal what current social justice initiatives in secondary schools are active in the most diverse cities. The goal of this project is to learn more about how we can support and empower our racialized and marginalized students who encounter many inequities in school and in greater society. The hope is to inspire all schools to create accessible equity based educational experiences for all students.

Written by Dr. Manu Sharma, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education and Social Work, Thompson Rivers University, editorial board member of the Canadian Journal of Action Research and former president of the Canadian Association of Action Research in Education

A special thank you full of honour, admiration, and respect to Dr. Kurt Clausen, who has mentored me and supported my work in Action Research over the last five years.

Works Cited:

Clausen, K. & G. L. Black (Eds.). (2020) The future of action research in education: A Canadian perspective. McGill-Queens Press.

Sharma, M. (2020). Challenges to equity based teacher education initiatives: Practicum dilemmas of teacher candidates. In K. Clausen & G. L. Black (Eds.), The future of action research in education: A Canadian perspective. McGill-Queens Press.

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