Culture and Pedagogy in Market-Driven Times: Embedded Case-Studies of Teaching in Two Urban Charter Schools
Terrenda White

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Teachers College, Columbia University

Primary Discipline

In the midst of market-oriented school reforms urging choice, competition, and efficient production of test scores, the complexities of pedagogy and its relationship to student culture are often overshadowed. In light of these pressures, it is unclear whether market rationales have undermined teachers? attempts to provide their students with pedagogically innovative and culturally responsive learning. To the extent that culturally responsive pedagogy(s) are valuable approaches to teaching low-income students of color, research must explore their compatibility with market reforms urging competition and choice that now govern large swaths of urban school districts across the nation. Based on interviews with instructional leaders in charter schools across Harlem, NY, as well as in-depth case studies with teachers in two purposefully sampled charter schools, this dissertation will critically explore the forms of teaching endorsed across schools, and whether teachers who work in such schools are supported in their development of pedagogically innovative and culturally responsive teaching. The experiences of teachers in Harlem can speak volumes not only about the nature of professional autonomy in market-oriented schools today, but the particular ways in which culture and teaching, indeed pedagogy altogether, have been ?left behind? (Trujillo, 2011) amid intense focus on managerial restructuring, choice-based policy reform, and test score production. Through the eyes and experiences of teachers, this research helps to tease out the often ignored tensions and contradictions of contemporary school reforms and the needs of teachers who endeavor toward the development of a culturally responsive praxis amid competitive, market-driven times.
About Terrenda White

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