Jessica Fei

Vasudevan, D. & Fei, J., 2015. "This is Their House, Too": An Afterschool Space Designed for and by Teenagers. Family Involvement Network of Educators (FINE) Newsletter , 2 (VII). Publisher's VersionAbstract

While there are a number of well-documented benefits to youth engagement in afterschool activities, programs often struggle to recruit youth and sustain their participation over time. Teenagers have expressed a need for increased access, awareness, and interest in out-of-school time opportunities, and have described obstacles to long-term participation, such as safety concerns in getting to and from the program, difficulty receiving parental buy-in for participation, or trouble balancing activities with family responsibilities.

In this case study (PDF), Deepa Vasudevan and Jessica Fei provide a portrait of the Everett Boys & Girls Club (BGC) and explore what makes the Everett BGC a successful place of learning and development for young people. They show that through “intentional informality,” the program develops spaces so that teenagers feel that they have room to be themselves while also knowing there are caring adults around them when they need guidance or mentorship. The case study concludes with takeaway practices for other practitioners to consider when designing programming for adolescents.

Warikoo, N., et al., 2016. Examining Racial Bias in Education: A New Approach. Education Researcher , 9 (45) , pp. 508-514. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In this article we argue that social-psychological research on implicit racial associations—relatively unconscious associations based on race—is a fruitful area to explore for a greater understanding of how racial bias affects children in schools. We highlight the key insights of research on implicit racial associations and their implications for education. Further, we identify
areas for research on implicit racial associations in education, calling for collaboration between scholars of racial inequality in education and scholars of implicit racial associations. This research is likely to provide a productive new perspective for understanding why and when teachers and other school personnel engage in behaviors that reproduce racial inequality, often in spite of best intentions and commitments to racial equity.
Building Positive Relationships with Adolescents in Educational Contexts: Principles and Practices for Educators in School & Community Settings
Brion-Meisels, G., Fei, J. & Vasudevan, D., 2017. Building Positive Relationships with Adolescents in Educational Contexts: Principles and Practices for Educators in School & Community Settings. In Toward a Positive Psychology of Relationships: New Directions in Theory and Research. ABC-CLIO, Inc. (Santa Barbara, CA).Abstract
This chapter describes a set of principles and practices that underlie positive relationships between adults and adolescents in educational settings, including schools and community-based programs. We begin by describing the critical importance of relationships in supporting adolescent development, noting that positive relationships with adolescents often look different depending on the context in which they occur. Using Sameroff & Chandler’s (1975) transactional model of development as a framework for thinking about positive relationships in educational contexts, we then describe a set of foundational practices that underlie most positive relationships with adolescents: (1) interpersonal practices that build positive relationships with adolescents, and (2) structural practices that build contexts where positive relationships with adolescents can occur. In the first section, we describe interpersonal practices that underlie developmentally appropriate, contextually and culturally relevant, reciprocal, and reliable partnerships with youth; here, we are using the term "partnerships" to flag the existence of reciprocal relationships that work towards shared goals. In the second section, we describe structural practices that foster relationship building: nurturing physical spaces, time and space to build trust, fun, and explicitly addressing institutional inequality. The chapter concludes with suggestions for educational practitioners seeking to build positive relationships with adolescents.
Jessica Fei

Jessica Fei

Doctoral Candidate, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Jessica explores themes of place, identity, and narrative as they relate to the life and learning experiences of adolescents. Her recent work has focused on how high school students create, resist, and challenge boundaries through their neighborhood narratives. Through her internship on the New Civics, she is studying ways to support storytelling and dialogue in online contexts, and designing curriculum that engages young people in critical reflection and creative thought through the theme of place.... Read more about Jessica Fei