The Development of Critical Consciousness in Urban Adolescents Attending Freirean and No Excuses Charter High Schools
Scott Seider

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Boston University

Primary Discipline

Human Development
Critical consciousness refers to the ability to critically analyze the social forces that impact one’s life as well as the development of skills and strategies necessary to navigate or challenge these forces. Recent scholarship has found critical consciousness to predict a range of positive outcomes in adolescents marginalized by systematic inequalities including academic achievement, political engagement and resilience. However, there is still much to be learned about the processes by which critical consciousness develops in marginalized adolescents, and, particularly, the role that schools can play in fostering such development. This longitudinal, mixed methods study will compare the development of critical consciousness in youth attending urban charter high schools guided by Freirean and No Excuses principles. The goals of this project are to provide insight into 1) the structure and predictors of critical consciousness development in marginalized youth and 2) whether differences emerge in such development in students attending two different schooling models. In so doing, the project seeks to offer scholars, educators and policy-makers deeper understandings of the curricular and pedagogical avenues available to them for fostering adolescents’ critical consciousness.
About Scott Seider
Scott Seider is an associate professor of education at Boston University where his research focuses on the civic and character development of adolescents. He is the author of more than 50 academic publications including Character Compass: How Powerful School Culture Can Point Students Toward Success (2012), which won the American Educational Research Association’s outstanding book award in moral development and education. Dr. Seider previously worked as a literacy teacher in the Boston Public Schools and an English teacher in the Westwood (MA) Public Schools. He earned an Ed.D. in Human Development & Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and an A.B. in English & American Literature from Harvard College.

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