The Promise and Perils of Teaching Social and Behavioral Skills at a ?No Excuses? School
Joanne Golann

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Princeton University

Primary Discipline

This dissertation examines the difficulties that high-poverty urban schools face in establishing order while teaching students the behaviors they need to operate in a middle-class world of initiative, flexibility, and creativity. Specifically, I focus on the tensions experienced by new teachers in becoming strict disciplinarians while pursuing more lofty teaching aims; by students, in adopting behaviors that help them get to college while resisting loss of autonomy; and by staff, in seeking full behavioral compliance while maintaining student and teacher satisfaction. Drawing on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork at a ?No Excuses? school, I will analyze the successes and failures of one very concentrated effort to teach dominant behaviors to low-income, minority students. This study adds to the understanding of a prominent and controversial charter school model, and elucidates the problem of maintaining school order while teaching non-cognitive skills.
About Joanne Golann

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