Writing with Dignity Among Youth in Urban Communities: Using Mentor Texts as a Reflective Tool for Transformation

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<jats:p> This article describes a three-year qualitative study on how youth of color in one community-based organization, Durham Community Youth, used the mentor text, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “What’s your life’s blueprint?” speech, as a reflective tool to transform themselves and their community. Using a critical literacy framework, the authors situate the study within the rich history of the Black community in Durham, North Carolina and examine how students’ writing advocated for their communities by speaking out against oppressive forces. The article offers implications on how educators can reimagine the implementation and intentionality of mentor texts for youth. </jats:p>






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Chen Lee, C, L Jacobs and JC Mann (n.d.). Writing with Dignity Among Youth in Urban Communities: Using Mentor Texts as a Reflective Tool for Transformation. Urban Education. pp. 004208592210817–004208592210817. 10.1177/00420859221081765 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27395.

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Jennifer Mann

Research Scientist

Jennifer C. Mann, Ph.D. is a Research Scientist for the BELLA (Bridging English Language Learning and Academics) projects, which are focused on designing and testing a professional learning program for teachers which utilizes culturally relevant pedagogies and integrates community cultural wealth into the use of high-impact instructional strategies with multilingual learners. Additionally, Dr. Mann is an Adjunct for Duke's Program in Education, where she teaches Instructional Methods for Teaching Multilingual Learners for Master of Arts in Teaching candidates.

Dr. Mann has been an educator/teacher educator for 17 years, having taught high school English, elementary and adult English as a Second Language (ESL), and undergraduate & graduate pre-service teachers. In 2023, she received her Ph.D. in Teacher Education and Learning Sciences from North Carolina State University, where she specialized in Literacy and English Language Arts.

Dr. Mann’s research interests include multilingual learners, culturally sustaining critical pedagogies, and equity centered, participatory qualitative methodologies.

Areas of Expertise

  • K-12 Education
  • ESL Education
  • Critical Literacy
  • Equity
  • Refugee & Immigrant Students
  • Teacher Education
  • Design-based Research

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