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Empowering Pedagogies That Enhance the Learning of Multicultural Students


by Arnetha F. Ball 2000

In this article, I lay out the tenets of a critical pedagogy and present the details of a study designed to investigate the presence of those tenets within the discourse patterns and pedagogical practices observed in community-based classrooms, which serve as alternative sites of urban multicultural education. Through analyses of the discourses and pedagogies used in the classrooms of three African American female teachers, I investigate the degree to which these teachers are able to challenge their students to consider alternative life possibilities, to become critical thinkers, and to consider transformation of their current life situations and the life situations of others. Through depictions of everyday activities and discourses that occur in these community-based classrooms, I illustrate how, although the overt rhetoric of these organizations is one that often says, "follow the rules . . . don't challenge lines of authority," the covert communicative messages in these community-based classrooms were often geared toward encouraging students to develop higher levels of consciousness and the skills needed to take control of and perhaps even transform their existing life experiences. Based on the findings of this investigation, I advocate for the conscious creation of dialogic, multiculturally sensitive classrooms where empowering, dynamic constructions of knowledge can become a reality by expanding upon the strategic uses of discourse patterns and pedagogical practices observed in the classrooms of these African American female teachers.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 102 Number 6, 2000, p. 1006-1034
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10700, Date Accessed: 10/17/2017 11:58:46 PM

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About the Author
  • Arnetha Ball
    Stanford University, School of Education
    E-mail Author
    ARNETHA F. BALL is Associate Professor in Curriculum Instruction and Teacher Education at Stanford University, School of Education. Her research interests focus on linking social, cultural, and linguistic theory to investigate the oral and written literacy patterns of marginalized students and the practices of their teachers in poor, urban, and inner-city schools, community-based organizations, and cross-national learning contexts in South Africa and the United States. Her publications include articles in Written Communication, Teaching and Teacher Education, Journal of Narrative Inquiry, Urban Education, and Linguistics and Education.
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