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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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7 Pan-ethnic Studies



Pan-ethnic Studies

Many connections have been made in educational research between academic failure, educational inequality, and race in American schools. These investigations have looked at schooling inequalities (Anyon, 1997; Darling-Hammond, 1998; Kozol, 1991; Noguera, 2003), tracking and teacher preparation (Oakes, 1985; Oakes & Lipton, 2001), and critical literacy (Delpit, 1995; Freire & Macedo, 1987; Lee, 2004), among other issues. The research has been crucial in linking these issues to deeper structural problems such as under-qualified teachers (Akom, 2003; Delpit, 1995; Oakes & Lipton, 2001), teacher shortages (Darling-Hammond, 1998; Kozol, 1991; Oakes & Lipton, 2001), and funding inequalities (Anyon, 1997; Kozol, 1991; Meier, 1995).

These studies have laid important groundwork for the documentation of urban educational inequality and U.S. educational disinvestment in places where people of color reside. However, given intolerably low academic achievement in urban schools that serve predominantly students of color (Council of the Great City Schools, 2007), there is a growing need to highlight, examine, and understand the practices and strategies that actually work in these schools, specifically those that are simultaneously focused on educational and racial justice. We call these “counter-narratives” because they are stories that challenge narratives that normalize failure in urban schools and pay special attention to the conditions of inequity.

Research that exposes the level of inequity (educational, social, political, and economic) in this country and throughout the world should be ramped up. The selfish exploitation and hoarding of resources cannot be tolerated in any...

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