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Teaching for Social Justice: Culturally Responsive and Relevant · PDF file 2014-11-26 · Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy in Urban Schools By ... Culturally Relevant Teaching

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  • Running Head: TEACHING FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

    Teaching for Social Justice:

    Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy in Urban Schools

    By

    Nadia Julianna Bucciarelli

    A research paper submitted in conformity with the requirements

    For the degree of Master of Teaching

    Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

    Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

    April, 2014

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution –

    Non-Commercial – No Derivatives 4.0 International License

  • TEACHING FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE 2

    Bring me all your dreams,

    You dreamer,

    Bring me all your

    Heart melodies

    That I may wrap them

    In a blue-cloud-cloth

    Away from the too-rough fingers

    Of the world

    - Langston Hughes

  • TEACHING FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE 3

    Table of Contents

    Abstract .............................................................................................................................. 5

    Acknowledgements ........................................................................................................... 6

    Chapter One: INTRODUCTION .................................................................................... 7

    Background of the Researcher ........................................................................................ 8

    Research Questions ......................................................................................................... 9

    Significance of the Study ................................................................................................ 9

    Overview ....................................................................................................................... 13

    Chapter Two: LITERATURE REVIEW ..................................................................... 14

    Organization of the Literature Review ......................................................................... 14

    Education for Social Justice .......................................................................................... 14

    Critical Pedagogy .......................................................................................................... 17

    Moving Away From Banking Model to Problem-Posing Education........................ 18

    Equity Pedagogy and Multicultural Education ............................................................. 21

    Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy ............................................................ 24

    Culturally Relevant Teaching ................................................................................... 24

    Culturally Responsive Teaching ............................................................................... 25

    Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy as a Framework for Social Justice

    Education ...................................................................................................................... 27

    Concluding Thoughts .................................................................................................... 29

    Chapter Three: METHODOLOGY .............................................................................. 31

    Research Procedure ....................................................................................................... 31

    Theoretical Framework and Analysis ........................................................................... 32

    Data Collection and Participant Selection .................................................................... 33

    Data Collection ......................................................................................................... 33

    Participants ................................................................................................................ 34

    Data Analysis ................................................................................................................ 35

    Ethical Review Procedures ........................................................................................... 36

    Qualifications and Limitations ...................................................................................... 36

    Chapter Four: FINDINGS ............................................................................................ 38

    Introduction ................................................................................................................... 38

    The Participants ............................................................................................................ 38

  • TEACHING FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE 4

    Lucy .......................................................................................................................... 39

    Jude ........................................................................................................................... 39

    Sadie .......................................................................................................................... 40

    Prudence .................................................................................................................... 40

    Understanding Culturally Responsive and Relevant Teaching in Achieving Social

    Justice Education .......................................................................................................... 41

    Understanding Social Justice Education ................................................................... 41

    Understanding Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy ................................ 43

    Developing an Inclusive Curriculum ............................................................................ 44

    Connecting to Students’ Lived Experiences ............................................................. 44

    Advancing Affirming and Positive Relationships .................................................... 48

    Integrating Issues of Social Justice in the Classroom Curriculum ........................... 50

    Power Structures and Barriers to Learning ................................................................... 54

    Societal Barriers & The Impact on Students’ Learning ............................................ 54

    School Power Structure and the Challenges of Supporting Every Student .............. 57

    Assessment Shaped by Power ................................................................................... 60

    Relationships Shaped by Power ................................................................................ 61

    Privilege of Parents ................................................................................................... 64

    Empowerment of the Learner ....................................................................................... 64

    Engagement............................................................................................................... 65

    Fostering Critical Consciousness .............................................................................. 67

    Chapter Five: DISCUSSION ........................................................................................ 71

    Introduction ................................................................................................................... 71

    Interpreting the Significance of the Findings ................................................................ 71

    Implications................................................................................................................... 76

    Recommendations for Further Research ................................................................... 78

    Concluding Thoughts .................................................................................................... 79

    REFERENCES ................................................................................................................ 81

    APPENDICES ................................................................................................................. 84 Appendix A: Interview Questions ................................................................................ 84

    Appendix B: Letter of Consent for Interview ............................................................... 86

  • TEACHING FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE 5

    Abstract

    The purpose of this study is to examine the social and cultural context of urban

    schools, and the impact it has on educational opportunities for students. In particular, the

    study examines the systemic factors faced by students living in high-needs communities

    and the impact that factors such as race, class, and ethnicity, has on their learning

    experience. Such considerations are important to understand and reflect upon in our

    practice as teachers. The underlying assumptions of the role of the teacher and their

    pedagogical practices need to be questioned. Through interviews, this study examines

    the narratives of teachers that have applied Culturally Responsive and Relevant Pedagogy

    to their practice in challenging the inequities that they have experienced in their

    classrooms or schools. In doing so, they have attempted to

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