Nonschool spaces aren’t what they used to be. Places that welcome young people engaging in unstructured, autonomous hanging out are getting harder to find. After-school programs have shifted toward offering formalized activities and documented learning outcomes. No longer can home spaces serve as an escape from the authority of school, infused as they are with the technologies of academic achievement. Meanwhile, educational researchers have struggled to articulate the value of nonschool learning without framing it in terms of school learning.
In this issue of the Bank Street Occasional Papers, our authors seek to expand the conversation about young people’s lives outside of school. While engaging with current literature on nonschool spaces and conceptualizing nonschool activity and learning in new and exciting ways, they describe youth activities in homes, programs, and public spaces, from a variety of methodological and theoretical perspectives.
Put simply, our contributors attempt to answer the question,
“What do nonschool spaces have to offer, other than more school?”
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