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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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4 What a Coach Can Teach a Teacher



What a Coach Can Teach a Teacher

In 1996, we were both teaching English at East Bay High School. Candace,1 the star girls’ basketball player, was a student in my (Duncan-Andrade’s) 11th-grade English class. In late September, she asked me to become the varsity head coach because their coach had just resigned. As a former high school basketball player, I knew taking over a program a month before the season began was equivalent to coaching suicide, especially in a highly competitive basketball league like the Oakland Athletic League. Having coached boys’ basketball during my first four years of teaching, I also knew that coaching was a powerful way to educate young people. I told Candace that if she could convince Morrell, also a high school basketball player, to coach the team with me, I would commit to an interim position with the program while the athletic director conducted a search for a full-time replacement. No replacement was found, and we both ended up heavily investing in the development of the basketball program: Morrell coached in the program from 1996 to 2000 and I stayed with the program from 1996 to 2002. Over those years, the program had tremendous social, academic, and athletic success, due in large part to the principles of critical pedagogy infused into the program’s ideology and structure. This chapter reports from portions of a four-year study of that program that I conducted between 1997 and 2001.

Sports and Social...

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