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The Art of Critical Pedagogy

Possibilities for Moving from Theory to Practice in Urban Schools


Jeffrey M.R. Duncan-Andrade and Ernest Morrell

This book furthers the discussion concerning critical pedagogy and its practical applications for urban contexts. It addresses two looming, yet under-explored questions that have emerged with the ascendancy of critical pedagogy in the educational discourse: (1) What does critical pedagogy look like in work with urban youth? and (2) How can a systematic investigation of critical work enacted in urban contexts simultaneously draw upon and push the core tenets of critical pedagogy? Addressing the tensions inherent in enacting critical pedagogy – between working to disrupt and to successfully navigate oppressive institutionalized structures, and between the practice of critical pedagogy and the current standards-driven climate – The Art of Critical Pedagogy seeks to generate authentic internal and external dialogues among educators in search of texts that offer guidance for teaching for a more socially just world.
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2 Contemporary Developers of Critical Pedagogy



Contemporary Developers of Critical Pedagogy

This chapter discusses the foundation of our understanding of critical pedagogy. It pays particular attention to critical pedagogues emerging from the Freirean tradition (Freire, 1970, 1998; Freire and Macedo, 1987; Shor, 1992; Darder, 1991; McLaren, 1994, 2003b; Giroux, 2001, 2003; hooks, 1994a, 1994b). It also discusses educators, scholars, theorists, and revolutionaries not traditionally associated with critical pedagogy (Carter G. Woodson, Lolita Lebrón, Frantz Fanon, Reies Tijerina, Audre Lorde, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Subcommandante Marcos). Finally, it addresses critiques of critical pedagogy from both the right and left in attempting to contextualize the current educational discourse.

Critical pedagogues, drawing on social and critical educational theory and cultural studies, examine schools in their historical context and as part of the existing social and political fabric that characterizes the dominant society. They challenge the assumption that schools function as major sites of social and economic mobility. Instead, they suggest that schooling must be analyzed as a cultural and historical process in which students are positioned within asymmetrical relations of power on the basis of specific race, class, and gender groupings. A major task of critical pedagogy has been to disclose and challenge the reproductive role schools play in political and cultural life. Although differences exist in their analysis, these critical thinkers are united in their belief that any genuine pedagogical practice demands a commitment to social transformation in solidarity within subordinated and marginalized groups.

Critical pedagogies can provide...

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