The 5 E’s of Emancipatory Pedagogy

The Rehumanizing Approach to Teaching and Learning with Inner-City Youth

Authored by: Laurence Tan

Handbook of Social Justice in Education

Print publication date:  December  2008
Online publication date:  June  2009

Print ISBN: 9780805859270
eBook ISBN: 9780203887745
Adobe ISBN: 9781135596149


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Many people, especially parents, see schools as the grand equalizer to inequality, yet the reality is that the institution of schooling has contributed to social stratification. Public education is in a state of crisis, particularly the education system in poor communities that are permeated by racism, poverty, violence, and oppression. In many urban centers, like the South Los Angeles elementary school where I teach, schools respond to the societal and community issues with dehumanizing control mechanisms aimed at both students and teachers. These mechanisms of control include, but are not limited to, school uniforms, zero tolerance discipline policies, scripted curriculum programs, and excessive emphasis on standardized testing. All these forms of school control are done in the vain pursuit of academic achievement on standardized tests on which schools like mine have historically failed. In turn, many administrators and teachers end up using student performance on tests to discuss student potential and to develop strategic plans with the primary goal of making the greatest numerical gains on the next set of tests.

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