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ERIC Number: EJ1103880
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Reference Count: 20
Schools as Discriminatory Artifacts
Parker, Benjamin D.
Penn GSE Perspectives on Urban Education, v13 n1 p76-80 Spr 2016
Schools tell stories. The materials, designs, and aesthetic flourishes found in and on older schools built during the Progressive Era of American Education can be examined and unpacked for their purposes, subtle messages, and audiences. This type of analysis is of great importance, as many of these schools are still in use today and have served changing communities for generations. As student populations and educational goals have shifted over the decades since the Progressive Era, it is imperative that researchers deconstruct the intended and unintended messages conveyed by the inanimate artifacts that make up modern schooling environments. The author's interest in the ideological imposition of educational spaces emerged from the dichotomy of his personal experiences within schools as a student who experienced safe and welcoming schools, and as a teacher who encountered schools that were dangerous, forlorn, and compromised. The inconsistency between the two experiences made the author consider the roles the educational spaces themselves played in enculturating students about the purpose and value of school as well as their place inside and outside of it. This article unpacks these themes within the context of an urban school where the author spent significant time as both a teacher and a researcher. As is common with practitioner research, the questions he seeks to answer developed from his practice in the school, and ultimately his findings are applied to the context where the inquiry emerged. This piece stands as a commentary on conceptualizing schools as artifacts and the need for greater examination of educational iconography. In addition, it is a call to action for those engaged in similar spaces to confront the physical markers of oppression.
Descriptors: Urban Schools, Charter Schools, Public Schools, Elementary School Students, Case Studies, Neighborhoods
University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. 3700 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://urbanedjournal.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)