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Possibilities in Practice

Social Justice Teaching in the Disciplines

Edited By Summer Melody Pennell, Ashley S. Boyd, Hillary Parkhouse and Alison LaGarry

This edited collection illustrates different possibilities for social justice practice in various grade levels, disciplines, and interdisciplinary spaces in P–12 education. Chapters in this unique volume demonstrate teaching with a critical lens, helping students develop critical dispositions, encouraging civic action with students, and teaching about topics inclusive of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Based on empirical research, each contribution is rooted in a critical theoretical framework and characterizes findings from sustained study of pedagogic practice, spanning subject matter from social studies, English Language Arts, music, mathematics, and science. Through this work, both pre- and in-service teachers as well as teacher educators will be inspired to practice social justice in their own classrooms.

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Chapter Eighteen: “It’s Like We Were Slow-Roasted … but in a Really Good Way”: Embedded Y-PAR in a U.S. History Course 11th Grade (Brian Gibbs)


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“It’s Like We Were Slow-Roasted … BUT IN A Really Good Way”

Embedded Y-PAR in a U.S. History Course

11th Grade


Mr. Aguayo1 is in his tenth year of teaching social studies at a large urban high school in a historically economically-stressed and primarily Latinx area of Southern California. He has taught World and U.S. History, American Government, Economics, International Law, an advisory for young men, and Ethnic Studies, though he indicated that all of his courses are “ethnic studies and social justice infused.” For six of his ten years, he has received a pink slip from the district stating that he may be displaced from his current teaching position or he may lose his position within the district altogether due to the district’s response to the economic slowdown. The high school in which he teaches has also undergone many changes during his tenure, each in the name of educational reform. The overpopulated campus went through a transformation process shifting from one large to several small schools on the same campus, a complex model (Cuban, Lichtenstein, Evenchik, Tombari, & Pozzoboni, 2010; Hantzopolous & Tyner-Mullings, 2012), then reverting back again to a comprehensive high school model. All of this was done at the direction of the quasi-mayoral takeover organization described as a partnership between the mayor’s office and two local school “families.”2 During that time Mr. Aguayo was on the design team...

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