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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.

«Firmly grounded upon critical educational practices with youth, ‘The Art of Critical Pedagogy’ systematically examines the power of an emancipatory approach to urban schooling in the United States. In so doing, the authors eloquently challenge conservative policies and practices tied to standardized testing and curriculum, calling forth a bold and rigorous critical pedagogy that affirms life, nurtures intellect, and embraces our humanity in the service of a more just world. For those critically committed to a new era of social justice in education, this book represents a significant contribution to this endeavor.» (Antonia Darder, Professor, Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign)
«Despite the pessimism, cynicism, and despair surrounding urban education, this book offers us the kind of public scholarship that gives us what we need most – a hope grounded in the reality that activism and social movements still matter and the people who matter most are those we serve the least.» (Gloria Ladson-Billings, Professor, Kellner Family Chair in Urban Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
«This is a book for our times. It brings to the fore critical voices that have for too long been neglected in the field of critical pedagogy. ‘The Art of Critical Pedagogy’ is a powerful new contribution to social justice education, written by two emerging leaders in the field whose work is destined to transform the landscape of critical education. Developing critical navigational strategies for urban teachers while advocating a critical pan-ethnic framework for education and a grounded theory of praxis, ‘The Art of Critical Pedagogy’ becomes an engine that drives the transformation of teachers into critical public historians. This book should be at the top of every critical educator’s reading list.» (Peter McLaren, Professor, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, UCLA)
«At a time when the nation is searching for ways to close the achievement gap, reduce the drop-out rate, and improve our urban schools, Duncan-Andrade and Morrell have produced a powerful book that provides insights into how these goals can be achieved. Drawing on years of direct experience teaching and studying urban schools, they show us what it takes to transform classrooms and schools into learning environments that respond to the needs of students and make it possible to use education as a source of hope and empowerment.» (Pedro Noguera, Professor of Sociology, New York University)