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A Good Investment?Philanthropy and the Marketing of Race in an Urban Public School$
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Amy Brown

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780816691128

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816691128.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking

Reading Urban Fiction with Students

(p.160) 6 Critical Thinking
A Good Investment?

Amy Brown

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter details the author attempted an activist intervention during the summer following her first year of teacher-research at College Preparatory Academy. It explores the author’s ideas for humanizing pedagogy in resistance to the school’s participation in a troubling political spectacle. Drawing on Paulo Freire’s methods (1970), the author held a weekly “cultural circle” book club that met outside of the school with four former students, all young women who identify as African American. Students chose reading materials in the cultural circles (all urban fiction books) and chose to critically read the texts by looking at how race, gender, and power operated in the books. Students found the cultural circles to be an engaging experience, but were wary of a model of teaching and learning that was outside of school-sanctioned models of success —ostensibly color-blind meritocracy and upward mobility. This has important implications for teachers and researchers who attempt to find the contemporary relevance of critical pedagogy in an era of standards, accountability, privatization, and corporatization of schools.

Keywords:   teacher-research, activist intervention, humanizing pedagogy, resistance, political spectacle, book club, cultural circles, color-blind meritocracy, upward mobility, corporatization of schools

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