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Urban Narratives

Portraits in Progress- Life at the Intersections of Learning Disability, Race, and Social Class

David J. Connor

Urban Narratives foregrounds previously silenced voices of young people of color who are labeled disabled. Overrepresented in special education classes, yet underrepresented in educational research, these students – the largest group within segregated special education classes – share their perceptions of the world and their place within it. Eight ‘portraits in progress’ consisting of their own words and framed by their poetry and drawings, reveal compelling insights about life inside and out of the American urban education system. The book uses an intersectional analysis to examine how power circulates in society throughout and among historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal domains, impacting social, academic, and economic opportunities for individuals, and expanding or circumscribing their worlds.
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Reading Resistance

Discourses of Exclusion in Desegregation and Inclusion Debates

Beth A. Ferri and David J. Connor

Reading Resistance confronts longstanding exclusionary practices in U.S. public schooling. Beth A. Ferri and David J. Connor trace the interconnected histories of race and disability in the public imagination through their nuanced analysis of editorial pages and other public discourses, including political cartoons and eugenics posters. By uncovering how the concept of disability was used to resegregate students of color after the historic Brown decision, the authors argue that special education has played a role in undermining school desegregation. In its critical, interdisciplinary focus on the interlocking politics of race and disability, Reading Resistance offers important contributions to educational research, theory, and policy.
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A Child, A Family, A School, A Community

A Tale of Inclusive Education

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Diane Linder Berman and David J. Connor

This book is a true story of one family’s journey into inclusive education. Having previously been told that her son Benny had "failed to function" in two exclusionary special education classrooms in New York City, Berman’s family set off in search of a school where Benny would be accepted for who he was, while having the opportunity to grow and flourish academically, socially, and emotionally alongside his brother, Adam. Connor’s interest was piqued when Berman shared her desire to document the ways in which the new school community had supported Benny throughout the years. Together, they thought, surely other teachers, school and district level administrators, parents of children with and without disabilities, teacher educators, and student teachers, could learn from such a success story?

The result of their collaboration is this book in which Berman skillfully narrates episodes across time, describing ways in which children, teachers, educational assistants, parents, and a principal came to know Benny—developing numerous and often creative ways to include him in their classrooms, school, and community. Connor’s commentaries after each chapter link practice to theory, revealing ways in which much of what the school community seems to "do naturally" is, in fact, highly compatible with a Disability Studies in Education (DSE) approach to inclusive education. By illuminating multiple approaches that have worked to include Benny, the authors invite educators and families to envision further possibilities within their own contexts.

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Edited by David J. Connor and Beth A. Ferri

This book purposefully connects practice to research, and vice versa, through the use of deeply personal stories in the form of autoethnographic memoirs. In this collection, twenty contributors share selected tales of teaching students with dis/abilities in K-12 settings across the USA, including tentative triumphs, frustrating failures, and a deep desire to understand the dynamics of teaching and learning. The authors also share an early awareness of significant dissonance between academic knowledge taught to them in teacher education programs and their own experiential knowledge in schools. Coming to question established practices within the field of special education in relation to the children they taught, each author grew increasingly critical of deficit-models of disability that emphasized commonplace practices of physical and social exclusion, dysfunction and disorders, repetitive remediation and punitive punishments. The authors describe how their interactions with children and youth, parents, and administrators, in the context of their classrooms and schools, influenced a shift away from the limiting discourse of special education and toward become critical special educators and/or engage with disability studies as a way to reclaim, reframe, and reimagine disability as a natural part of human diversity. Furthermore, the authors document how these early experiences in the everydayness of schooling helped ground them as teachers and later, teacher educators, who galvanized their research trajectories around studying issues of access and equality throughout educational structures and systems, while developing new theoretical models within Disability Studies in Education, aimed to impact practices and policies.
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Practicing Disability Studies in Education

Acting Toward Social Change

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Edited by David J. Connor, Jan W. Valle and Chris Hale

Practicing Disability Studies in Education: Acting Toward Social Change celebrates the diversity of contemporary work being developed by a range of scholars working within the field of Disability Studies in Education (DSE). The central idea of this volume is to share ways in which educators practice DSE in creative and eclectic ways in order to rethink, reframe, and reshape the current educational response to disability. Largely confined to the limitations of traditional educational discourse, this collective (and growing) group continues to push limits, break molds, assert the need for plurality, explore possibilities, move into the unknown, take chances, strategize to destabilize, and co-create new visions for what can be, instead of settling for what is. Much like jazz musicians who rely upon one another on stage to create music collectively, these featured scholars have been – and continue to – riff with one another in creating the growing body of DSE literature. In sum, this volume is DSE «at work.»