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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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6 Youth Participatory Action Research as Critical Pedagogy



Youth Participatory Action Research as Critical Pedagogy

For some time there has been excitement about the possibilities for critical pedagogy to inform practice in urban education. However, very little empirical work has been done that theorizes the possible translation of principles of critical pedagogy into practices, and even less work has been done that evaluates the outcomes of these practices in pushing forward the development of grounded theories of practice. The central premise of this book is that we need to examine critical pedagogy with urban youth. Erroneously, people have looked to theory to build theory instead of understanding that critical pedagogy began with practice to build theory. As a field, our attempts to develop theory from theory have left us essentially with a house built on sand. We need to develop sound theories of practice that can be implemented and evaluated through the use of critical lenses. That, essentially, has been our project over the past dozen years; as authors and educators we have endeavored to generate theories of praxis and to develop practices from these theories that inform greater theory and practice. We have labeled this project the development of grounded theories of praxis in critical pedagogy in urban contexts.

We have so far examined three instantiations of this grounded theory: critically teaching popular culture in English classrooms, using sport as a metaphor for personal and social development, and merging critical social theory and college access to create structures for academic...

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