Pushing the Line: Teaching Suburban Seventh Graders to be Critically Conscious through Historical Inquiry and Civic Letter-Writing
PDF

How to Cite

Beutel, A. (2018). Pushing the Line: Teaching Suburban Seventh Graders to be Critically Conscious through Historical Inquiry and Civic Letter-Writing. Radical Teacher, 111, 57–64. https://doi.org/10.5195/rt.2018.472

Abstract

 

Engaging in critical teaching with non-marginalized suburban middle school students is both challenging and necessary in the Age of Trumpism. In this paper, I explain the constraints on critical educators teaching in an affluent, suburban public school setting as well as the possibilities for working within this system to increase students’ critical consciousness. In the inquiry-based learning project I describe, I combine critical pedagogy theory with historical literacy pedagogy in order to enable seventh grade students in a world history course to critique current problems in the United States under Trump through the comparative analysis of different historical and modern sources and action-based letter-writing to the president. I include an overview  an explanation of the school setting and culture, a rationale for and summary of the lessons within the inquiry project, a description of the class discussions, and excerpts from students’ letters and reflections revealing their thinking.
https://doi.org/10.5195/rt.2018.472
PDF

References

Anyon, J. (1980). Social class and the hidden curriculum of work. Journal of Education, 162 (1), 67-92.

Christensen, L. (2000). Reading, writing, and rising up: Teaching about social justice and the power of the written word. Milwaukee: Rethinking Schools.

DePaulo, B. (2017, December 8). I study liars. I’ve never seen one like President Trump. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/i-study-liars-ive-never-seen-one-like-president-trump/2017/12/07/4e529efe-da3f-11e7-a841-2066faf731ef_story.html?utm_term=.b7b80a1ef757

Downey, M. T., & Long, K. A. (2016). Teaching for historical literacy building knowledge in the history classroom. New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Freire, P. (1997). Pedagogy of the oppressed (Revised 20th anniversary ed). New York: Continuum. (Original work published in 1970).

Giroux, H. A. (1988). Teachers as intellectuals: Toward a critical pedagogy of learning. Granby, MA: Bergin & Garvey.

Harris, E. (2017, February 14). The snapchat cohort gets into politics, and civics is cool. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/nyregion/social-media-schools-politics-civics.html

hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. New York: Routledge.

Kenworthy, J. (2017, March 13). Teachers’ new catch-22: Students want

to talk politics but their parents don’t. The Christian Science Monitor.

https://www.csmonitor.com/EqualEd/2017/0313/Teachers-new-Catch-22-Students-want-to-talk-politics-but-their-parents-don-t

Le Miere, J. (2017, July 20). Donald Trump again shows that he knows nothing about U.S. or world history. Newsweek. Retrieved from http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-history-napoleon-russia-639794

Seider, S. (2008). Bad things could happen: How fear impedes social responsibility in privileged adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 23 (6), 647-666.

Seider, S. (2009). Social justice in the suburbs. Educational Leadership, 66 (8), 54-58.

Swalwell, K. (2013). Educating activist allies: Social justice pedagogy with the suburban and urban elite. New York, NY: Routledge.

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (1998). Understanding by design. Alexandria,

VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Zinn, H. (1994). You can't be neutral on a moving train: A personal history of our times. Boston: Beacon Press.


Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

1.  The Author retains copyright in the Work, where the term “Work” shall include all digital objects that may result in subsequent electronic publication or distribution.

2.  Upon acceptance of the Work, the author shall grant to the Publisher the right of first publication of the Work.

3. The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
Attribution—other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal Web site; with the understanding that the above condition can be waived with permission from the Author and that where the Work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by the license.

4. The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.

5. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a pre-publication manuscript (but not the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.


6. Upon Publisher’s request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author’s own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.


7. The Author represents and warrants that:

     the Work is the Author’s original work;
     the Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
     the Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
     the Work has not previously been published;
     the Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
     the Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
 
8. The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from Author’s breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 6 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher’s use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.