The Narratives of Millicent E. Brown and Josephine Boyd Bradley
Chapter 4. The Relevance
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In schools across the country, conversations about academic achievement, discipline, and student engagement are common. Whether students are motivated or unmotivated, affluent or in poverty, majority or minority, schools are identified by these broad characteristics and are expected to “promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness” (U.S. Department of Education, 2011, para. 1). How do we create opportunities for learning that will be accessible to students of varied backgrounds or circumstances? How do we promote equity in a society or educational system permeated with a legacy of inequitable practices? Lastly, how do we inspire others and teach students to persevere, be empathetic, see their own capabilities, and move beyond individual and societal biases? I submit that narrative research—using one’s story, experience or experiences, successes, and failures as tools for teaching—is one effective way to address the aforementioned questions. For this reason, this text, Pedagogy of Survival, uses historical and contemporary narratives to reveal the perseverance and extraordinary accomplishments of ordinary people. I invite you to think about the narratives in your own life. How did you persevere or survive a difficult, challenging, or traumatic experience? What lessons did you learn and how would you define your pedagogy of survival? ← 153 | 154 →
As noted in the Introduction, I define pedagogy of survival as a way of teaching through one’s actions, a performative act—“an aspect of our work [teaching] that offers the space for change, invention, [and] spontaneous shifts,...
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