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Article
Publication date: 8 April 2019

Keisha McIntosh Allen

This paper aims to examine how a Black male teacher made sense of the ways racism and white supremacy function in schools and constrains his practice by addressing the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine how a Black male teacher made sense of the ways racism and white supremacy function in schools and constrains his practice by addressing the question: How does a culturally relevant Black male teacher engage a racial perspective in his pedagogy and make sense of the socio-political context of his practice?

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative case study draws its data from semi-structured interviews and participant observations and was situated within a transfer high school in the Northeastern region of the USA.

Findings

This study elucidates the ways in which a Black male teacher’s racial literacy enabled him to make sense of the socio-political context of his school, the profession and help his Black male students negotiate how they are racialized in schools and society.

Research limitations/implications

This paper closes with a call for additional research that further examines the relationship racial literacy plays in retaining teachers of color in the profession and for racial literacy to be positioned as a vital component of teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge in both teacher education and professional development.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the literature on critical Black male teachers by forwarding a framework that helps us to understand how they engage in transformative work within assimilationist educational spaces.

Details

Journal for Multicultural Education, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2053-535X

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Article
Publication date: 10 September 2018

Sohyun An

The purpose of this paper is to explore the extent to which an intervention lesson could help with elementary pre-service teachers’ critical racial knowledge around school…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the extent to which an intervention lesson could help with elementary pre-service teachers’ critical racial knowledge around school segregation.

Design/methodology/approach

The author, an Elementary Social Studies Methods Instructor, developed and modeled lessons of “doing race” in social studies as one of the ways to assist elementary pre-service teachers with critical racial knowledge and commitment to do race in their future classrooms. This paper focuses on one of the modeled lessons, which centered on the topic of school segregation.

Findings

Based on the analysis of class discussion and student work, the author documented the ways in which the modeled lesson engaged pre-service teachers in disrupting the dominant discourses and teaching practices on the topic of school segregation and developing the critical understandings needed to successfully teach about race and racism in elementary classrooms.

Originality/value

The paper details actions meant to demonstrate to elementary pre-service teachers the benefits of an elementary social studies topic viewed and taught through a critical race lens. In doing so, it calls attention to the possibilities and limitations of a single lesson that targets antiracist practices.

Details

Social Studies Research and Practice, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1933-5415

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Article
Publication date: 11 September 2017

Sohyun An

How can the author, as social studies methods instructors, assist future elementary teachers develop the knowledge and skills to engage young students in critical

Abstract

Purpose

How can the author, as social studies methods instructors, assist future elementary teachers develop the knowledge and skills to engage young students in critical examinations of race and racism, and feel empowered to take action against racial oppression? The purpose of this paper is to share one of many possible ways of “doing race” in elementary social studies teacher education.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the author proposes the topic of school segregation as a relevant and engaging inroad for elementary students to learn about race and racism. Then, the author outlines and problematizes a dominant approach to teaching about school segregation in elementary classrooms and suggests an alternative approach informed by critical race theories. Next, the author provides counterstories to dispel the dominant narrative of school segregation from an Asian critical race theory perspective. This is followed by an explanation of the lesson the author teaches in the author’s elementary social studies methods course that utilizes these perspectives and counterstories.

Findings

By using Asian-American counterstories of school segregation, the lesson seeks to assist preservice elementary teachers in disrupting the dominant teaching practices and discourses around school segregation and helps preservice teachers develop the critical understandings and competencies needed to successfully teach about race and racism in elementary classrooms.

Originality/value

The author concludes by discussing the possibilities and implications of the lesson.

Details

Social Studies Research and Practice, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1933-5415

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Article
Publication date: 30 June 2020

Abigail Rombalski

This article aims to share findings from a youth-informed study with interracial anti-racist youth activist groups in two urban high schools.

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to share findings from a youth-informed study with interracial anti-racist youth activist groups in two urban high schools.

Design/methodology/approach

The study used mostly critical ethnographic methods.

Findings

The findings showed that the agency of youth activists amplified their literacies of love and resistance, organizing, critical teaching, and knowledge. More research is needed in English education related to youth organizing activities across contexts as youth organizing work is largely unknown or underused by educators and schools.

Originality/value

Overall, this research supports humanizing collectives that amplify the literacies of youth and position youth-centered education for liberation.

Details

English Teaching: Practice & Critique, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1175-8708

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Book part
Publication date: 12 September 2017

Mary Yee

This chapter examined the lived experiences of first generation Asian immigrant student activists, who waged a powerful struggle against school violence in a large urban…

Abstract

This chapter examined the lived experiences of first generation Asian immigrant student activists, who waged a powerful struggle against school violence in a large urban high school. Their struggle resisted the hegemonic practices of the district bureaucracy around racial harassment, bullying, and treatment of immigrant students, especially English Language Learners (ELLs). Mobilizing both inside and outside of school, the student activists initiated legal action, organized among their high school peers and in the Asian community, and disrupted dominant discourses about the Asian community and the abilities of first generation immigrant youth.

Using ethnographic methods such as interviews, focus groups, and analysis of archival data, the author focused on four student leaders from working class backgrounds, examining the identities and literacies they developed in the process of understanding the power dynamics between dominant institutions and racialized communities. Moreover, using the lenses of Bourdieusian and Freirean social theory, this qualitative study looked at the roles that culture and ideology, broadly construed, played in the young people’s political development and their post-secondary trajectories. This work also built on the work of Shawn Ginwright, Julio Cammarota, and Michelle Fine on youth activism and community change. The significance of this chapter lies in its contribution to the research about the intersectionality of race/ethnicity, class, immigration status, and youth activism, in particular for first generation immigrant youth.

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Article
Publication date: 30 November 2020

Katia Ciampa and Dana Reisboard

The single-site case study described herein is part of a two-year professional development (PD) initiative aimed at helping teachers from an urban elementary (K-8) school…

Abstract

Purpose

The single-site case study described herein is part of a two-year professional development (PD) initiative aimed at helping teachers from an urban elementary (K-8) school learn how to implement explicit, transactional comprehension strategy instruction across grades using culturally relevant books. This paper aims to describe the urban elementary teachers’ successes and challenges in their first-year implementation of providing culturally relevant literacy instruction.

Design/methodology/approach

Three types of qualitative data were collected: researchers’ anecdotal notes during the professional learning sessions; teacher focus groups; and teachers’ blog reflection entries.

Findings

The findings revealed that the PD for culturally relevant literacy instruction resulted in teachers’ heightened awareness of how identities and social subjectivities are negotiated in and through culturally relevant discourse, the implicit and explicit bias in the school curriculum. Finally, PD served as a catalyst for facilitating students’ and teachers’ racial and cultural identity development.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this study suggest that culturally relevant books which incorporate the students’ background may aid in student engagement because students are able to draw upon their culturally acquired background knowledge to better comprehend texts. Thus, to engage, motivate, affirm and promote students’ literacy success, teachers need to possess knowledge of their students’ race and culture, as well as their background, language and life experiences.

Practical implications

The findings of this study suggest that culturally relevant books which incorporate the students’ background may aid in student engagement because students are able to draw upon their culturally acquired background knowledge to better comprehend texts. Thus, to engage, motivate, affirm and promote students’ literacy success, teachers need to possess knowledge of their students’ race and culture, as well as their background, language and life experiences.

Social implications

Teachers and teacher educators must reflect on, question and critique their own work in preparing teachers to enter today’s schools as critical, reflective educators. The types of children’s literature that are selected and introduced to students play an important role in dismantling technocratic approaches to literacy instruction and strengthen one’s understanding of one another. Teachers must select books that challenge assumptions and speak of possibilities for change.

Originality/value

Culturally relevant pedagogy that includes culturally relevant children’s literature holds promise for improving literacy instructional and assessment practices and school experiences for culturally and linguistically diverse students, especially in environments where high-stakes testing is emphasized. It is one way to imagine a better schooling experience for students that affirms identities and honors and sustains diversity. For culturally relevant pedagogy to be a reality in education, stakeholders must be on board, including students, parents, teachers, administrators and policymakers.

Details

Journal for Multicultural Education, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2053-535X

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Article
Publication date: 16 July 2020

Anne Crampton and Cynthia Lewis

This study aims to discuss the ethical and political possibilities offered by the presence of teaching artists (TAs) and visual artwork in racially and culturally diverse…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to discuss the ethical and political possibilities offered by the presence of teaching artists (TAs) and visual artwork in racially and culturally diverse high school literacy (English Language Arts) classrooms.

Design/methodology/approach

This study explores episodes from two separate ethnographic studies that were conducted in one teacher’s critical literacy classroom across a span of several years. This study uses a transliteracies approach (Stornaiulo et al., 2017) to think about “meaning-making at the intersection of human subjects and materials” (Kontovourki et al., 2019); the study also draws on critical scholarship on art and making (Ngo et al., 2017; Vossoughi et al., 2016). The TA, along with the materials and processes of artmaking, decentered the teacher and literacy itself, inviting in new social realities.

Findings

TAs’ collective interpretation of existing artwork and construction of new works made visible how both human and nonhuman bodies co-produced “new ways of feeling and being with others” (Zembylas, 2017, p. 402). This study views these artists as catalysts capable of provoking, or productively disrupting, the everyday practices of classrooms.

Social implications

Both studies demonstrated new ways of feeling, being and thinking about difference, bringing to the forefront momentary possibilities and impossibilities of complex human and nonhuman intra-actions. The provocations flowing from the visual artwork and the dialogue swirling around the work presented opportunities for emergent and unexpected experiences of literacy learning.

Originality/value

This work is valuable in exploring the boundaries of literacy learning with the serious inclusion of visual art in an English classroom. When the TAs guided both interpretation and production of artwork, they affected and were affected by the becoming happening in the classroom. This study suggests how teaching bodies, students and artwork pushed the transformative potential of everyday school settings.

Details

English Teaching: Practice & Critique, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1175-8708

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Article
Publication date: 29 September 2020

Jason Michael Miller

Many states are restructuring their US history state assessments to include written-response assessment items that evaluate students' literacy skills in high-stakes…

Abstract

Purpose

Many states are restructuring their US history state assessments to include written-response assessment items that evaluate students' literacy skills in high-stakes environments. The purpose of this study was to investigate how the addition of an extended-response item to a US history state assessment was associated with an increase in the racial achievement gap.

Design/methodology/approach

The theoretical framework included linguistic complexity of standardized assessment items and academic language demand and utilized a difference-in-difference research design.

Findings

The findings indicate that the achievement gap between students of color and White students increased when an extended-response assessment item was added to an exclusively multiple-choice item exam and that this increase in the achievement gap may be contributed to a literacy gap.

Research limitations/implications

The continued investigation of how students of color perform on different types of extended-response standardized assessment items. And, the continued investigation of evidenced-based instructional practices that focus on developing students' literacy skills in US history as well as culturally responsive instructional practices.

Practical implications

The knowledge and implementation of literacy instruction and culturally responsive instruction in US history classrooms as well as in preservice teacher education programs and in-service professional development programs.

Originality/value

The current study is one of the first large-scale investigations into the racial achievement gap on US history written-response standardized assessment items and in identifying a literacy gap between students of color and White students on US history written-response state assessment items.

Details

Social Studies Research and Practice, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1933-5415

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Article
Publication date: 13 August 2018

Michelle M. Falter and Shea N. Kerkhoff

The purpose of this paper is twofold: to explore how preservice teachers in a young adult literature course critically conceptualize discussions in school spaces about…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: to explore how preservice teachers in a young adult literature course critically conceptualize discussions in school spaces about race and police/community relations; and to understand the constraints and affordances of using the young adult (YA) novel, All American Boys, as a critical literacy tool for discussing race and police/community relations.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative exploratory case study (Stake, 1995) investigated 24 pre-service teachers in two university YA literature courses as they read and discussed All American Boys. Thematic analysis consisted of open coding through the theoretical lenses of critical literacy and critical race theory.

Findings

Pre-service English language arts teachers largely thought that while race and police relations was important and the YA book was powerful, it was too political. Their fears about what might happen lead to privileging the role of neutrality as the desired goal for teachers when tackling difficult conversations about racial injustice in America. Although students made some shifts in terms of moving from neutral to more critical stances, three sub-themes of neutrality were predominant: a need for both sides of the story, the view that all beliefs are valid and the belief that we are all humans therefore all lives matter equally.

Originality/value

A search at the time of this study yielded few research tackling racial injustice and community/police relations through YA literature in the classroom. This study is important as stories of police brutality and racism are all too common and adolescents are too often the victims.

Details

English Teaching: Practice & Critique, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1175-8708

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Article
Publication date: 4 May 2020

Lauren Leigh Kelly

This study aims to refocus the field of Hip Hop based education on youth identities and epistemologies rather than on the tangible artifacts of Hip Hop culture. It argues…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to refocus the field of Hip Hop based education on youth identities and epistemologies rather than on the tangible artifacts of Hip Hop culture. It argues that centering classroom pedagogy and curriculum on youth self-actualization best supports the critical literacy development of students grappling with social and structural inequities within an ever-evolving youth and media culture.

Design/methodology/approach

Building upon previous literature on critical literacy, Hip Hop pedagogy and adolescent identity formation, this paper shares data from a semester-long teacher–researcher case study of a high school Hip Hop literature and culture class to explore how young people develop critical literacies and self-actualizing practices through a critical study of youth culture.

Findings

For youth engaged in Hip Hop culture, co-constructing spaces to discuss their consumption of popular media and culture in class allows them to openly grapple with questions of identity, provide support for each other in dealing with these questions and reflect more critically upon their self-constructed, performed and perceived identities.

Originality/value

This form of English education challenges traditional notions of teaching and learning as it positions students as co-creators of curriculum and as part of the curriculum itself. Building on research that frames Hip Hop pedagogy as a culturally relevant tool for engaging urban youth, this paper argues that educators should approach critical Hip Hop literacy development as a means by which young people across diverse educational and social backgrounds come to know themselves and others as part of the process of self-actualization and critical resistance.

Details

English Teaching: Practice & Critique, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1175-8708

Keywords

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