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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 Nineteen: Students as Researchers: A Co-teaching Narrative from a Social Justice-Oriented U.S. Government Class 12th Grade (Linsay Demartino / Sara Rusk)


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Students AS Researchers

A Co-teaching Narrative from a Social Justice-Oriented U.S. Government Class

12th Grade



For one particular student it began with a poem describing the issues he saw in his community. Refusing to stand up in front of his peers, he read it haltingly from his desk, seeming to hold his breath the entire time. Rather than relief at finishing, he looked angry and agitated. Then he heard the responses from his classmates: support, connections, a “You did it!” This clearly surprised him, and his reaction moved the whole group. From that moment on, José came to class more, smiled at his peers, and even joked around. He had struggled throughout high school and had expressed to his special education caseworker that he hated most of his teachers and just being in a school environment.

The course was titled American2 Government Social Justice Education Project, and this was our first year teaching it together. Linsay served as the special education teacher, and Sara was the mainstream teacher. Linsay’s skills working predominantly in resource classes were crucial and proved that this collaborative class was an important model to better support students with disabilities and to build sensitivity for learning differences. José had been in few mainstream classes and had a school-wide reputation as a troublemaker with alleged gang ties and violent...

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