Student Narratives on Relationship, Learning, and Change in Comprehensives Turned “Small”

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2009

Publication Title

Theory Into Practice


The article draws on an ethnographic study of students' experiences in a restructured campus of several schools, located in a densely populated northeastern city, serving a multiracial, largely working class and poor Latino neighborhood. The authors underscore student narratives of a chronology of opportunity and loss, while also noting an increasing sense of agency among students, within a context of reciprocity made possible by educators' engagement with them. They explore this interrelated set of factors and the extent to which agency within reciprocity was strengthened for students and educators by their experience of the campus's capacity to change in ways beneficial to students. Preliminary findings suggest that the students and the young schools moved in parallel trajectories, realizing potential, and moving the campus toward a state of greater legitimacy.

Original Citation

Ayala, J., & Galletta, A. (2009). Student narratives on relationship, learning, and change in comprehensives turned “small”. Theory Into Practice, 48(3), 198-204. doi:10.1080/00405840902997352