Reality check: How adolescents use TikTok as a digital backchanneling medium to speak back against institutional discourses of school(ing)
“You Only get what you are organized to take” by Josh MacPhee (2017) via Just Seeds.


Social Media
Popular Culture

How to Cite

Wright, W. T. (2021). Reality check: How adolescents use TikTok as a digital backchanneling medium to speak back against institutional discourses of school(ing). Radical Teacher, 119, 61–67.


This article centers on how TikTok’s adolescent users “speak back” to discourses of school(ing) in the US.  Through a discussion of four viral, school-related trends that have proliferated on TikTok over the past two years, the author calls attention to the ways school(ing), as a largescale, democratic project and socially constructed phenomenon, is being shaped by young people, for young people on a digital platform that backchannels a largely resistant attitude toward the institutional framing of school(ing) upheld by many adult educators today. The hope is that educators might engage these moments of rupture and feelings of dissonance in considerate ways that do not combat or cheapen the experiences of the young people in classrooms but instead open up opportunities for understanding and dialogue.



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