Classroom Teaching

An Introduction | Second Edition

by Joe L. Kincheloe (Volume editor) Shirley R. Steinberg (Volume editor)
©2018 Textbook X, 232 Pages


Classroom Teaching is an introductory text that challenges the antiquated ways that teaching and curriculum have been presented. By adding chapters to Joe L. Kincheloe’s original volume, this second edition gives a fresh, politicized viewpoint of power and politics in an era of corporatized education. The authors set the scene to introduce cutting-edge notions of teaching, knowledge-making, and ways of seeing the world. The essays included in this second edition of Classroom Teaching present a critical pedagogical approach to a socially-just praxis of schooling and being in schools. This edition also includes essential essays on diversity, sexuality, and media which are contemporaneous with today’s concerns in society. Pre-service teachers, interns, and teacher educators in North America will find Classroom Teaching engaging and unique as they commit to an informed vision of educating our children and youth.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction: And So, We Teach (Shirley R. Steinberg)
  • Part I: Teaching: Becoming and Doing
  • 1 What Are We Doing Here? How Do We Build a Framework for Teaching? (Joe L. Kincheloe / Shirley R. Steinberg)
  • Gaining a Sense of Where We’re Going
  • The Importance of Healthy Debate about the Goals of Classroom Teaching
  • Traditional Debates about the Goals of Classroom Teaching
  • The Goals of Classroom Teaching and Questions of Power
  • Understanding the Alienation of Contemporary Experience: The Authoritarianism of Positivism
  • Addressing Alienation: Moving to Multiple Perspectives
  • References
  • 2 The Meaning of Pedagogy (Philip M. Anderson)
  • Talking about Teaching: A Very Short History
  • The Art of Teaching/Craft of Teaching
  • The Science of Teaching and the Science of Learning
  • Pedagogy and the Professionalizing of Teaching
  • Post-Modern Critiques of Modernist Pedagogy
  • The Future of Pedagogy
  • References
  • 3 About Power and Critical Pedagogy (Shirley R. Steinberg / Joe L. Kincheloe)
  • Power and the Production of the Regulated Self
  • Creating Counterhegemonic Classrooms: Critical Pedagogy and Curriculum
  • Nihilistic Classrooms in a Purposeless World
  • Beyond Nihilism: Demanding New Configurations
  • Critical Classrooms and the Power of Relationships
  • What Does It Mean to Be an Educated Person? Cultivating Historical Consciousness
  • Historical Consciousness, Power, Colonialism/Neocolonialism, and Student Failure
  • New Forms of Consciousness, New Ways of Being Human: A New Sense of Purpose
  • References
  • Part II: How Do We Teach? Why Do We Teach?
  • 4 Curriculum: Understanding What We Teach and Where We Teach It (Joe L. Kincheloe)
  • What Is the Curriculum?
  • The Critical Curriculum: Knowledge, the Classroom, and Who We Are
  • Killing the Life Force: Ideology and Objectivity
  • Surviving the Brave New World of the Standardized Curriculum
  • Teachers as Curriculum Developers
  • Constructing the Critical, Interconnected Curriculum
  • References
  • 5 Indigenous Knowledge and the Challenge for Rethinking Conventional Educational Philosophy: A Ghanaian Case Study (George J. Sefa Dei / Marlon Simmons)
  • Case Study: Context, Method and Study Findings
  • Proverbs as Indigenous Philosophies: Limits and Possibilities of Knowing
  • Culture, Schooling, and Indigenous Knowledge
  • The Question of Language
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • Note
  • References
  • 6 The Teacher as Mediator between Schools and Students (Tricia Kress)
  • Notes
  • References
  • 7 The “Social” Dimensions of Classroom Teaching (Elizabeth E. Heilman)
  • Social Roles
  • Social Interactions and Groupings
  • The School as a Social Institution
  • Social Problems
  • Social Messages and Social Visions
  • References
  • 8 Including Families in the Teaching and Learning Process (Nina Zaragoza)
  • First Meeting with Nengyuan’s Mother
  • What to Speak, What Not to Speak
  • Phone Calls
  • Horrible Situations
  • Letters to the Families
  • Final Wishes
  • Part III: Different Kids, Different Classrooms
  • 9 Unmasking Whiteness in the Teacher Education College Classroom: Critical and Creative Multicultural Practice (Virginia Lea)
  • What Is Whiteness?
  • What Is Hegemony?
  • Conclusion
  • Note
  • References
  • 10 (Still) Making Whiteness Visible: Implications for (Teacher) Education (Nelson M. Rodriguez)
  • Racism, Whiteness, and Education for Critical Consciousness
  • Whiteness, Multicultural Education, and Critical Pedagogy
  • References
  • 11 Creating a Third Wave Islamophobia: Formulating Prejudices Through Media (Shirley R. Steinberg)
  • My Media Autobiography
  • Film and Islam
  • Tontos and Sancho Panzas: Hollywood Sidekicks
  • Filling in the Scene with Arabs
  • White Boy Saviors and Dirty, Smelly Arabs
  • Prototypes for Hatred
  • 24 Ways to Stereotype on Television
  • Terrorists are Everywhere
  • Everyone Is a Bad Guy
  • Understanding First, Second, and Now Third Wave Islamophobia
  • Teaching against Islamophobia: Critical Media Literacy
  • References
  • Filmography
  • 12 Creating Schools That Value Sexual Diversity (Elizabeth J. Meyer)
  • What Is “Sexual Diversity”?
  • Unlearning the Stigmas Attached to Sexual Diversity
  • Understanding Diverse Sexual Identities
  • Sexual Diversity and the Law
  • Creating Schools That Value Sexual Diversity
  • Notes
  • References
  • 13 (Dis)Embedding Gender Diversity in the Preservice Classroom (sj Miller)
  • What Is Gender?
  • Gender Politics in the Classroom
  • Wrestling with the Gender Binary Inside and Outside the Classroom
  • (Dis)Embedding Gender: Moving Between Spaces
  • Appendix A: Terms
  • Appendix B: Young Adult Literature
  • Middle School Texts
  • High School Texts
  • Films
  • Appendix C: Bands with Gender-Fluid People
  • Appendix D: More Resources about Gender and Sex Issues
  • Note
  • References
  • Part IV: More than Methods: Authentic Teaching
  • 14 Breakbeat Pedagogy (Brian Mooney)
  • Breakbeat Pedagogy: A Framework
  • Sustained Breaking
  • Lights/Camera/Break!
  • Bearing Witness
  • Critical Hip-Hop Language Pedagogies
  • Breaking the Common Core
  • Dialogue as Pedagogy
  • References
  • 15 Contextualizing the Possible for Transformative Youth Leadership (Shirley R. Steinberg)
  • Introduction: What’s Wrong with You?
  • Fear of Youth
  • How Do We Discuss Youth Leadership if We Don’t Want Youth to Lead?
  • What We Need to Know
  • Eschewing the Modernist Constructions of Youth
  • A Transformative Critical Pedagogical Youth Leadership
  • Only a Beginning
  • References
  • 16 Lost in the Shuffle: Re-calling a Critical Pedagogy for Urban Girls (Venus Evans-Winters / Christie Ivie)
  • Feminist Pedagogy
  • Multicultural and Social Justice Education
  • Toward a Critical Multicultural Feminism
  • Implications for Practice
  • References
  • 17 Punk Rock, Hip-Hop, and the Politics of Human Resistance: Reconstituting the Social Studies Through Critical Media Literacy (Curry Malott / Brad Porfilio)
  • Subcultures in Context
  • Beyond the Lyrics
  • Making Connections and Creating Passion Through Music: CMSS
  • References
  • 18 Alternative Media: The Art of Rebellion (Zack Furness)
  • What Are Alternative Media?
  • Production, Power, and Content
  • DIY Media
  • Radical Media
  • Creating Networks
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Further Reading
  • Internet Resources
  • Contributors
  • Index

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And So, We Teach

Shirley R. Steinberg

If you are reading these words, you have determined you are destined to teach or, possibly, that you must teach. Was it those Saturday mornings, after cartoons, when you hauled out the little blackboard, coloring books, crayons, blocks, and forced younger siblings and neighborhood kids to be your students? Was it that favorite teacher, the one who changed your life? Was it because school was a bad place, and you knew you could do better? Are you the offspring of a teacher? Or, was teaching your second choice, your fall back-on profession? All legitimate reasons, and you’re here: a pre-service teacher ready to enter a most essential, exhausting, complicated, and challenging profession … and, oh yeah, btw, you will never collect a salary commensurate with your profession. In the next few school terms, you are expected to become cognitive theorists, curriculum designers, assessment aficionados, and behavior managers. Good luck on that. My advice to you is to absorb the stuff, but pay attention to the passion. Know that the rubrics, taxonomies, and outcomes are only tools to get you into the schools, then your authentic teacher education begins.

Simulation, stimulation, and recitation serve to legitimate the degree you will receive, and make no mistake, you need that knowledge. However, being educated to become a teacher must happen in the schools, that’s when we begin to understand just exactly what it means to teach. Just as this short Introduction is part of your preparation for this class, teacher education is the preliminary setup for legitimating you in order to enter into the real thing. There are volumes written about teaching, meticulously created to launch you into your chosen vocation, read them with an eye of commitment and suspicion. Absorb the advice, throw away any antiquated, pedantic notions, and create your own self-teacher … remember your own school story and use it as a model to understand who you wish to become as a teacher (or, who you do wish to become). Be reflective, become a student of yourself as a teacher, create a life-long self-study of your chosen profession. Know your kids … know them. Become a researcher of your students, observe what curricula they bring into your class: their experiences, beliefs, backgrounds, differences, and subcultures … continually inquire into the ways in which each ← ix | x → one learns and performs. Remind yourself that your goal is not to parent, nor to become their friend … it is to be their teacher, their mentor, their support, their advocate, and their safety.

Along with observing and learning your students, be continually aware of the power agencies which govern teaching and education. The authors in this book are united in the understanding that teaching is a political act. Two centuries ago, North American public schools were created for one purpose: to teach a previously illiterate societal class to become docile and obedient workers. The Industrial Revolution recreated work to be done by the masses, factories became centers of production, and workers needed to be trained. For a population previously not disciplined to work en masse, North American workers needed to be educated and controlled. Indeed, this explains why our schools are modeled on factory organizations. The bells, the timetables, keeping attendance, grouping, these all stem from schools being modeled after factories. And, factories served to sustain an ideological citizenry involved in the creation of capital, of goods for revenue. The idea of the arts, or learning for learning’s sake was not part of the original mandate for public schooling. Aesthetics, physical activity, and enjoyment were the curricula of the privileged, the rich … and public schools were ways in which to serve the economy and the nation.

Theorists and school reformers began to advocate to admit the arts, physical education, discovery, and imagination into education, and by the early part of the twentieth century, new ways in which to imagine schooling were slowly infused into schools. There has, however, never been an agreement as to what public education should look like, what it should mean. And curriculum wars have raged, instituted and legislated by national, state, and provincial law makers … progressive schools, experimental schools, back-to-basics schools, core curriculum schools: all attempts to find the best way to educate. The best way, the best curriculum, the best methods … and all of it, political. As you will read in the chapters of this book, political power, ideological power influences, creates, and recreates schools and curriculum. The education of each generation is heavily influenced by those in power, those who lead, and we see how curriculum and assessment are guided by this leadership. Sometimes, when education is not a political (and economic) priority in a government, the previous decade continues to lead the current decade … eventually leading to a static, nonprogressive education. I remember my oldest son, Ian, coming home from his grade 1 class, blankly handing me a Dick & Jane Reader. First published in the 1920s, these readers were identified with North American children learning to read. The series was revamped in the 1960s, and my son was taught to read with them in the 1980s. An early and avid reader, he was mystified about his first textbook. It was silly, decontextualized in his world, and over 60 years old. The readers weren’t inherently bad, just without context, without cultural connection to Ian, and depicted out-of-date notions of children and family. When I approached the principal of Ian’s school, pointing out the antifeminist text, the stereotypical roles of boys and girls, I was told that I was “too radical,” and that children in the 1980s were the same as any other decade’s children. This issue is an example of how the political and ideological enters into even the most seemingly innocent text. Depictions of race, class, gender, play, and work in these readers reflected an era which may or may not have existed, but certainly did not for my son. Publishers are also complicit in deciding upon which books are selected, which politicians respond to their ideological stance, and in the case of school texts in the past few decades, even laid the groundwork for curricular legislation. Schooling is Political.

We hope this book creates a space for alternate views of teacher education predicated upon notions of equity, social justice, negotiated curriculum, and self-reflection. No “lesson plans” are included, no recipes, no charts, and no fail-safe methods. While the curriculum is prescribed, there is nothing preventing us to intuit and contextualize the way we teach what our states and provinces lay out as content for teachers. Being a good teacher is understanding the way in which knowledge can be taught and learned, and how we present this knowledge, within context, for our particular students. The job is tough, often lacking material rewards … but it is worth every drop of sweat, every late night, and every student.

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Teaching: Becoming and Doing

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What Are We Doing Here?

How Do We Build a Framework for Teaching?

Joe L. Kincheloe and Shirley R. Steinberg

This book is grounded on the premise that we can do better—we can build a far better society and far better schools. One of the most important prerequisites of such an effort involves our ability to imagine what such a society and such an education might look like. That’s what this book attempts to do—to provide a compelling vision of what classroom teaching could become. The authors offer a hopeful, democratic, challenging, and pragmatic portrait of classroom teaching that engages the mind, heart, and creative impulse. Since Joe published his first work almost thirty years ago, some readers have said that “all that sounds good, but it’ll never work in the real world.” There is nothing impractical about developing visions of what could be. Indeed, constructing such visions is a very practical enterprise, for all innovation begins with vision. Without vision we are existentially dead or at least dying. As creatures without vision, we walk a meaningless landscape attending only to immediate urges. We want more, as do the authors in this book. Moreover, we believe that human beings have only begun a journey of meaning-making and achievement that will take them to presently unimaginable domains. Education is intimately tied to—and even makes possible—this amazing journey.

Gaining a Sense of Where We’re Going

Classroom teaching that takes place outside of a rigorous examination of the larger goals of education is always trivialized and degraded. All of the chapters in this book are premised on the notion that great classroom teaching is always grounded on larger understandings of purpose, a vision of the social role of education, and a sense of what type of people we want to be. What’s sad is that so much of what takes place in higher education, teacher education, the public conversation about schooling, and elementary and secondary schools themselves is disconnected from these dynamics. When analyses of purpose and vision are relegated to the domain of “the impractical,” we have issues. In such a situation the culture has lost a central dimension of its humanness, its élan vital, its life force. ← 3 | 4 →

The authors and editors believe that human beings are enriched by:

an understanding of the physical and social universes;

the historical context that has shaped them;

the literary and other aesthetic creations that express their hopes and fears;

the philosophical insights that can help clarify and construct meaning;

an awareness of the hidden cultural and ideological forces that tacitly influence their identities and values;

new cognitive insights that help students move to more powerful modes of thinking;

the political ideas that help them in the struggle to control their own lives;

different ways of knowing: Indigenous, feminist, non-Western, alternate knowledges.

We want classrooms that help produce a society—and a world—worthy of our status as citizens.

The way such classrooms are created involves gaining a sense of social and educational purpose. The title question of this chapter, what are we doing here? must be answered by teachers in order for them to construct compelling, challenging, motivating, socially responsible, and just classrooms. Without an answer to this question and a pedagogy constructed around that answer, there is little chance of creating a classroom that makes a difference in students’ lives—especially students marginalized by the forces of race, class, gender, and sexuality—and a difference in the larger society. We are asserting here that merely getting students to prepare for the standards tests administered by the school district or the state is not enough. In fact, there is evidence that moves us to argue that such a test-based teaching and learning process may do more harm than good.

In these test-based contexts the very question of what we are doing here too often gets profoundly distorted. On numerous occasions over the last few years of standards hysteria we have heard a variety of political and educational leaders assert these sentiments: “Why are we here? What is our main goal? That’s right, to raise the test scores.” Obviously, raising standardized test scores is not the raison d’être of classroom teaching. There is something profoundly disturbing about such pronouncements regarding our goals. Indeed, there is a “rational irrationality,” when in the name of reason we lapse into irrational beliefs and behavior.

For example, standardized tests measure so little of what education involves. The previous list of some of the ways a rigorous education can enrich our lives can’t be measured by such tests. At most, such exams pick up on some of the fragmented, unconnected data one has obtained from schools. In this book we argue that such data are relatively unimportant in the larger vision of education and classroom teaching that we are laying out here. This is not to say that knowledge is not important. But the way we confront knowledge and make sense of it is every bit as important as committing particular “facts” to memory. Being prepared to ask why we are studying “this knowledge” and not “this other knowledge” is a skill that is far more useful than scoring high on a standardized test.*

What makes the question, “What are we doing here?” so complex for teachers is that North Americans are so divided over the answer. All educational questions are primarily political questions. Even what many might think are simple questions—such as “What do we teach?”—are riddled with political inscriptions. Do we teach the knowledge that she or he thinks is most important? Do we teach in the way Dr. Smith says is the best for student learning or in the way Dr. Brown maintains creates the ← 4 | 5 → best learning environment? The answers to such questions are complex, and we answer them depending on our larger social, cultural, political, and philosophical assumptions whether or not we are conscious of them. It is impossible to be neutral about these questions. Along with the authors, we hold particular social, cultural, political, and philosophical perspectives. These perspectives influence our vision of what constitutes a good classroom. We will tell you about the biases we bring to each of the following chapters. None of us claim that what we are providing you is objective information about classroom teaching. No information is objective. It is our perspective.

We will try to convince you that it’s not such openly admitted biases that should worry you. What concerns us is the information that is provided to you as a form of objective truth, free from interpretation and human perspective. Whenever a teacher or educational expert claims that she/he is giving us “the truth,” we need to feel uncomfortable. A central assertion of this book is that all claims of good classroom teaching are based on particular political/social visions—there is no one, objective political/social vision. In this context as human beings who want to be teachers, we are faced with an existential dilemma: no one else can tell us the right way to teach; we have a human responsibility to decide for ourselves what constitutes good teaching and appropriate educational goals in a democratic society. We believe that every teacher must make this decision and struggle against systems that unreasonably attempt to deny teachers of this professional prerogative. This doesn’t mean that teachers are free to indoctrinate students with fascist dogma, racial hatred, or inaccurate information. It does mean that teachers can make curricular and pedagogical decisions within particular democratic and scholarly boundaries.

The Importance of Healthy Debate about the Goals of Classroom Teaching


X, 232
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2018 (September)
Lehrerausbildung Unterricht Psychologie
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Vienna, Oxford, Wien, 2018. X, 232 pp.

Biographical notes

Joe L. Kincheloe (Volume editor) Shirley R. Steinberg (Volume editor)

Joe L. Kincheloe was Canada Research Chair of Critical Pedagogy at McGill University. The author of over fifty books and hundreds of articles, his work centered on critical pedagogy, emancipatory teacher education, and the social context of learning. A philosopher, sociologist, and student of education, he was a musician, a poet, and father of four children. His legacy continues through his scholarship, leadership, and humanity. Shirley R. Steinberg is Research Chair of Critical Youth Studies at the University of Calgary. With Kincheloe, she co-founded The Freire Project (www.freireproject.org). The author or editor of many books and articles, she is the founder of the International Institute for Critical Pedagogy and Transformative Leadership. She is a community activist who speaks globally on issues of social justice, equity, and education.


Title: Classroom Teaching