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"Yeah, There Is Something to Get": Contradictions in Using Progressive Pedagogies to Teach Social Justice

Fri, April 9, 12:20 to 1:20pm EDT (12:20 to 1:20pm EDT), SIG Sessions, SIG-Critical Issues in Curriculum and Cultural Studies Roundtable Sessions


Social justice educators aim to cultivate both students’ abilities to think “critically” in the sense of thinking for themselves, and to think “critically” in the sense of arriving at particular, anti-oppressive conclusions. However, these two ideals often come into contradiction, as students’ self-directed thinking doesn’t always lead to anti-oppressive conclusions. This ethnographic study elucidates how students responded to teachers’ attempts to actualize both goals in an undergraduate teacher education course. Findings demonstrate how efforts to foster both ideals made the realization of each more difficult. These findings elucidate contradictions in the use of progressive pedagogies to teach social justice, and argue that an explicit explication of power may better facilitate teachers’ social justice objectives.