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Making Room for One Another

Dynamic and Designed Dialogicality in a Kindergarten Classroom

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Gerri August

Quoting an abolitionist preacher, Martin Luther King Jr. once said, «The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice». This is true, but the moral arc doesn’t bend on its own. We must lean into the task. Making Room for One Another is the story of how one kindergarten teacher did just that. This critical ethnography lies at the intersection of democratic, transformative pedagogy and differences that impact an urban kindergarten. Drawing largely on discourse analysis, the book explores the interplay between Zeke, the classroom teacher, and his students. The participation, resistance, and discourse patterns of one particular student exemplify the complex nature of social systems in general and emancipatory pedagogy in particular. All educators recognize their responsibility to hone students’ cognitive abilities, to teach students to read and to write and to reason. Making Room for One Another is written for educators who dare ask themselves the question, «Read and write and reason about what? To what end must students read and write and reason?»
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7. Conclusion

Extract

← 128 | 129 → Chapter Seven

“There ought to be a book written about me, that there ought! And when I grow up, I’ll write one—but I’m grown up now,” she added in a sorrowful tone; “at least there’s no room to grow up any more here.”

Alice’s lament

Adventures change us. They change the contents of our intellectual, political, intrapersonal, and interpersonal toolboxes. They change how, in the present, we face the future and how we make sense of the past. In this book, I chronicled and interpreted several adventures: the adventure of a teacher committed to democratic transformative pedagogy; the adventure of a kindergarten learning community under the guidance of this teacher; the adventure of a child in that learning community who both embraced and resisted the demands of the journey; and the adventure of a researcher who was privileged to walk at their sides. Their stories, reviewed in this final chapter, converge and diverge; their convergences and divergences are the essence of this study.

I introduced Zeke in the opening chapter as a teacher committed to democratic transformative pedagogical practice. Philosophically aligned with the purposes of my project, Zeke’s class also fulfilled the other prerequisite: A child with lesbian moms was enrolled. ← 129 | 130 → Although I always intended to analyze pedagogy, I envisioned a different data set, with the child at the center and the teacher responding to questions that the child’s family stories would engender. Those stories never emerged,...

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