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Crafting Critical Stories

Toward Pedagogies and Methodologies of Collaboration, Inclusion, and Voice


Judith Flores-Carmona and Kristen V. Luschen

Critical storytelling, a rich form of culturally relevant, critical pedagogy, has gained great urgency in a world of standardization. Crafting Critical Stories asks how social justice scholars and educators narrate, craft, and explore critical stories as a tool for culturally relevant, critical pedagogy. From the elementary to college classroom, this anthology explores how different genres of critical storytelling – oral history, digital storytelling, testimonio, and critical family history – have been used to examine structures of oppression and to illuminate counter-narratives written with and by members of marginalized communities. The book highlights the complexity of culturally relevant, social justice education as pedagogues across the fields of education, sociology, communications, ethnic studies, and history grapple with the complexities of representation, methodology, and the meaning/impact of employing critical storytelling tools in the classroom and community.
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8. Exploring (Dis)Connections Through Digital Storytelling: Toward Pedagogies of Critical Co-Learning


“I am your friend,” said the girl in front of me. She directed her declaration to Cristina,1 the very quiet girl seated at the desk to my right. The classroom lights were dim and the next student’s story had already begun to play. After four weeks and eight two-hour sessions working with their Hampshire College student partners, Mr. Covey’s sixth-grade class at Liston Middle School viewed their completed digital stories collectively for the first time. All ten sixth graders and their four Hampshire college student partners watched excitedly, attentively, and with some nervousness, as their two-to-three minute videos played. Cristina’s two-minute story revealed significant unhappiness. Her parents had separated, and she missed her father who lived in Puerto Rico; she wanted to return. She narrated that she had no brothers or sisters and few friends. The story left me with a sense of a young girl who felt very alone. At the moment her digital story concluded, and without missing a beat, the girl sitting in front of me turned around and declared her friendship to Cristina. She smiled, and said very simply, “I am your friend.” To me, it was one among several important moments of connection that was engendered through the Educational Histories/Educational Hopes project (EHEH).

This chapter examines the possibilities and tensions involved in utilizing storytelling as a vehicle to develop critical consciousness about how institutional structures, policies, and relations of power impact students’ experience of schooling. The students at the center of the...

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