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Learning to Teach for Social Justice


by Marilyn Cochran-Smith — 1999

As a central part of their learning, my students have written thousands of pages of inquiry about teaching and learning—pages that were almost always thoughtful and articulate, often compelling, and sometimes even brilliant in turn of phrase, use of example, or original weaving together of disparate threads of meaning. Programmatic emphasis on the construction of interpretive and political perspectives notwithstanding, the question my students inevitably asked was this one: “But what does teaching for social justice really mean—in a concrete way?” And its many variants: “What does it look like in the classroom?” “What do you actually do with the students?” “You can’t really teach for social justice with five-year-olds, can you? Don’t they have to be older?” and “When do we get to the part in the program where we actually learn how to do it?”


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 98, No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 100 Number 5, 1999, p. 114-144
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18727, Date Accessed: 10/22/2017 10:43:07 PM

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About the Author
  • Marilyn Cochran-Smith
    Boston College
    MARILYN COCHRAN-SMITH is Professor of Education and Chair of the Department of Teacher Education, Special Education, and Curriculum and Instruction.
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