From Coping to Hoping: Teaching Youth to Thrive through Trauma
Patrick Camangian

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of San Francisco

Primary Discipline

While we must always recognize the talent, brilliance, and vigor of young people persisting through everyday life in urban communities, studies have shown that many youth in urban spaces experience trauma—that result of social toxins including poverty, racism, violence, environmental toxins, gentrification, xenophobia, language discrimination, substandard public services, and more. While critical scholars have introduced transformative pedagogies proven to facilitate cultural affirmation, critical consciousness, and subsequent improvements in academic engagement among urban youth, as a field we have yet to acknowledge and address the healing needs of students that would allow them to fully thrive.For this project, I will be turning to research in the health sciences—spanning the fields of public health, epidemiology, social work, and psychology—to inform a new paradigm for thinking about pedagogy, complex traumas, and urban education. The new, robust framework will provide a richer basis for understanding previously underexplored questions about how pedagogy can not only be critical and culturally relevant and sustaining but how it might also help better account for the holistic demands youth in urban settings must negotiate. Through this project I seek to solidify and introduce the aforementioned interdisciplinary lens that will serve as the analytical lens for a corpus of qualitative data collected as part of a four-year qualitative dataset.
About Patrick Camangian
Patrick Camangian is an associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education at the University of San Francisco and Co-Director of the Urban Education and Social Justice Credential & Master’s program – recognized for recruiting and supporting 67% students of Color for a profession where approximately 80% of all teachers are Caucasian. In 2011, he was awarded the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Camangian earned his Ph.D. in Urban Schooling at UCLA. His scholarship examines critical pedagogy and transformative teaching in urban schools; action research, critical literacy, culturally empowering education, and urban teacher development. Two of his articles that are frequently used by classroom teachers and teacher educators are, “Starting with Self: Teaching Autoethnography to Foster Critically Caring Literacies” (2010) and “Seeing Through Lies: Teaching Ideological Literacy as a Corrective Lens” (2013). Camangian’s recently published article, “Teach Like Lives Depend On it: Agitate, Arouse, Inspire” (2015) is based on his 2011 AERA, Division B Dissertation of the Year Award winning dissertation. Currently, he is turning to both critical theory and research in the health sciences to inform his research findings on complex traumas and urban education. Camangian has been an English teacher since 1999, continuing in the tradition of teacher-research, applying critical pedagogies in urban schools. Camangian began in the Los Angeles Unified School District where he was awarded “Most Inspirational Teacher” by former mayor Richard Riordan for his teaching in South Los Angeles. As a professor, he continues to teach English in the Oakland Unified School District as part of the East Oakland Step to College program. Camangian engages grassroots efforts to advocate for humanizing, socially transformative education as a founding member of California’s People’s Education Movement and as an advisory board member of the Education for Liberation national network.

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