HOPE for the Science Education of Youth Involved with the Justice System

Title: HOPE for the Science Education of Youth Involved with the Justice System
Authors: Singh, Diandra
Date: 2022-01-14
Abstract: Equitable schooling requires that all students are able to participate, including those who are involved in the justice system. However, schools for youth who are in custody or in treatment are presented with challenges that may inhibit offering their student body science courses. This exclusion is a result of safety restrictions that coincide with what General Strain Theory (Agnew, 2006) refers to as having a strained population. Strained individuals experience significant life stressors that pressure them to anomie. Given the prevalent absence of strained individuals from science courses, it was a pleasant surprise to learn that the Healing Outdoor Program and Education (HOPE)–a remote treatment centre in a western province in Canada–had offered a for-credit high school science program during its operation from 2005 to 2020 that was a popular pick amongst students. In order to examine the science education experiences of youth who are involved in the justice system, this case study explores the types of strains that HOPE’s students faced, how those strains affected their learning, and how the pedagogical strategies mitigated/exacerbated strains. Document analysis, interviews with teachers and staff, and a field observation revealed that a pedagogy built on relationship, place-based science education, and personalized education were integral to academic success. However, underpinning educational achievement was a distinctive holistic approach to students’ wellness that addressed their physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social needs, through the use of Indigenous inspired practices, other forms of therapy, and the remote wilderness location. Furthermore, this case exemplified that it is not only feasible to offer science courses to strained individuals, but also possible to use science as a catalyst to reengage strained youth with schooling when teachers have the right conditions and supports. Therefore, this study presents pedagogical approaches that were successfully used with a marginalized group and provides recommendations for HOPE as they seek out funding partners to reinstate operations, so that they can continue providing youth with hope for a better future.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/43145
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -

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