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ERIC Number: EJ935559
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 8
ISSN: ISSN-1550-1175
Forging Democratic Spaces: Teachers and Students Transforming Urban Public Schools from the Inside
Seher, Rachel
Schools: Studies in Education, v8 n1 p166-189 Spr 2011
This article shows the process through which one teacher and a group of eleventh-graders worked to create spaces for democratic education in a hierarchically organized New York City public school that is heralded as a model of success under current reform initiatives. In response to student resistance to a required unit on Tim O'Brien's novel, The Things They Carried, the author reframed the unit so that students collaborated with professor of education and antiwar activist Bill Ayers to write and present personal war stories documenting injustices in the students' own lives, both inside and outside of school. In reframing the unit, the author drew heavily on the writings of critical education theorist Paulo Freire and the support of colleagues in a voluntary, self-directed, democratic teacher forum facilitated by the Critical Educator Network. By focusing on the experiences of one teacher and a group of students in a small New York City public school, this article shows the transformative potential of student-teacher collaboration concentrated on creating democratic spaces within individual classrooms in urban public schools under the current era of standardization and external accountability.
University of Chicago Press. Journals Division, P.O. Box 37005, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 877-705-1878; Tel: 773-753-3347; Fax: 877-705-1879; Fax: 773-753-0811; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 11; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York