A Movement Against and Beyond Boundaries: Politically Relevant Teaching Among African-American Teachers
by Tamara Beauboeuf-LaFontant - 1999
The purpose of this article is to examine culturally relevant teaching as a political pedagogy and a contemporary manifestation of what was considered "good" teaching in many African American communities served by Black segregated schools. Through examining several ethnographies and autobiographical accounts of segregated schools that were valued by Black students and families, I assert that the "good" of these institutions hinged not simply on the cultural similarities between teachers and students, but more importantly on the "political clarity" of the teachers. That is, these educators recognized the existence of oppression in their students' lives and sought to use their personal, professional, and social power to encourage children to understand and undermine their subordination. I also contend that because they use their knowledge of society's inequities and their influence to empower their marginalized students, the pedagogy of contemporary culturally relevant teachers might be more accurately called "politically relevant teaching." I conclude the article by discussing how recognizing the political and historical dimensions of culturally relevant teaching may broaden its application, as issues of racism and social injustice are relevant to all Americans and not only people of color.
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