Learning Sciences Lunch and Learn with Dr. Nicole Mirra: “Civics for the World to Come: Designing a Speculative Paradigm for Democratic Education with K-12 Students and Teachers”

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Connect with colleagues during this in-person presentation at the GSE (Room 124). Pizza will be provided! Can’t attend in person? Join us remotely via Zoom!

In this presentation I argue that approaches to learning and teaching about civic life in K-12 schooling contexts must make a conceptual shift away from narrow preservation of existing public institutions and toward the creation of alternative democratic futures characterized by solidarity, mutual care, and collective agency. Inspired by visionary art and community organizing movements, my theoretical framework of speculative civic literacies recasts public education as an intergenerational and interdisciplinary project of world-building. I empirically ground this framework in a discussion of the Digital Democratic Dialogue (3D) Project, a social design-based experiment in which six high school teachers and their students (n=228) from geographically and ideologically distinct communities across the United States collaborated via a range of multimodal tools to excavate their sociopolitical histories, analyze current civic dilemmas, and build new media to support their freedom dreaming. My analysis highlights how the 3D Project findings can inform a speculative reimagining of teacher preparation and educational research methodology.

Suggested Reading:
• Mirra, N., & Garcia, A. (2022). Guns, Schools, and Democracy: Adolescents Imagining Social Futures Through Speculative Civic Literacies. American Educational Research Journal, 59(2), 345–380.

Nicole Mirra is an Associate Professor of Urban Teacher Education in the Department of Learning & Teaching at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education. Her research utilizes participatory design methods in classroom, community, and digital spaces to collaboratively create civic learning environments with youth and educators that disrupt discourses and structures of racial injustice and creatively compose liberatory social futures. She previously taught secondary literacy and debate in Brooklyn, New York and Los Angeles, California. Her books include Civics for the World to Come: Committing to Democracy in Every Classroom (Norton, 2023), Educating for Empathy: Literacy Learning and Civic Engagement (Teachers College Press, 2018), and Doing Youth Participatory Action Research: Transforming Inquiry with Researchers, Educators, and Students (Routledge, 2015). Her work appears in peer-reviewed journals including American Educational Research Journal, Harvard Educational Review, Review of Research in Education, Journal of the Learning Sciences, and more.

View the flyer.