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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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9 Toward a Grounded Theory of Praxis



Toward a Grounded Theory of Praxis

The final chapter in a book of this length customarily wraps up the arguments made in earlier chapters, but concluding an argument on a subject as loaded as critical pedagogy is no small task. At the outset, we stated our charge as one that would move from theory to practice and return to theory. We have not engaged in a definitive study of critical pedagogy in urban education. Rather, we have provided several examples of practices with urban youth (successful practices, we think) that built on our interpretations of the critical pedagogy theories to which we have been exposed. In the process, we feel as though we have generated some core principles of a grounded theory of critical pedagogy with urban youth that we hope will inform policy, practice, teacher development, and future research in critical pedagogy.

We now highlight several key principles that have emerged during our extensive work. We have alluded to some of these principles in earlier chapters, and they all relate to ideas in the work of others, but they bear repeating here in our concluding chapter. From the core principles we shift our discussion to the implications of this latest instantiation of our approach to critical pedagogy for the development of educational policy, educational practice, and future urban educators. We conclude the chapter by situating the work of critical pedagogy within a larger context of social movements. One cannot examine and become...

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