What Skateboarders Can Teach Us about Learning, Schooling, and Youth Development
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
The die-hard local skateboarders of Franklin Skatepark—a group of working-class, Latino and white young men in the rural Midwest—are typically classified by schools and society as “struggling,” “at-risk,” “failing,” and “in crisis.” But at the skatepark, they thrive and succeed, not only by landing tricks but also by finding meaning and purpose in their lives.
In Dropping In, Robert Petrone draws from multiple years of ethnographic research to bring readers into this rich environment, exploring how and why these young men engage more with skateboarding and its related cultural communities than with school. For them, it is in these alternative communities and spaces that they meet their intellectual, literate, and learning needs; cultivate meaningful and supportive relationships; and develop a larger understanding of their place in the world. By looking at what these skateboarders can teach us about what is right and working in their lives, Petrone asks educators and others committed to youth development to rethink schooling structures and practices to provide equitable education for all students.
“Dropping In provides a fascinating look into a small group of participants at a rural public skatepark and their learning as cultural practice. The book is well written, compelling, and a delight to read, with a good balance of clearly articulated theory and analytically driven empirical contributions.”—Jasmine Y. Ma, associate professor of teaching and learning at New York University
“Dropping In challenges readers to reconsider the notion of the ‘at-risk’ student and to redefine what counts as learning and literacy. It will appeal to learning and literacy scholars, teacher educators, K–12 teachers, and others who work with adolescents in communities.”—Wendy R. Williams, author of Listen to the Poet: Writing, Performance, and Community in Youth Spoken Word Poetry