Foreword by: Theresa Perry
Publication Date: September 4, 2015
This book provides classroom examples to demonstrate how identity-making is integral to the teaching and learning process. Responding to school reform efforts that focus on top-down reform measures, this book proposes “identity work” as an alternative approach. The author argues that efforts to improve urban schools should recognize the importance of relational change that focuses on deepening personal interactions between students and teachers, teachers and other teachers, and schools and parents. Based on an in-depth study of two classrooms in urban K–8 schools, the book illuminates the importance of allowing teachers the freedom to make pedagogical adjustments based on their knowledge of students’ needs, backgrounds, and interests. This volume reframes our understanding of urban schools and raises questions about the goals of local and federal reform and what is at stake for educational systems.
Cheryl Jones-Walker is an associate professor of educational studies on leave from Swarthmore College and currently a visiting associate professor at the University of San Francisco in the teacher education department. She has worked as a teacher, as a facilitator for school-based reform efforts, and on various educational organizing campaigns.
"Identity Work in the Classroom is an extraordinary and compelling book. It is essential reading for teacher-educators, teachers, and community organizers, and it represents the best of contemporary critical school ethnography."
—From the Foreword by Theresa Perry, Professor of Africana Studies and Education, Simmons College
"Grounded in an urban ecological lens of learning, becoming, and knowing, this book demonstrates how educators navigate and negotiate educational policy and reform through discourse and identity construction. Identity Work in the Classroom represents a powerful exemplar of the kind of discursive practices essential to advance urban education scholarship and actions during challenging and changing times. If you are concerned about policies that shape urban education and the children they impact, read this book."
—H. Richard Milner IV, Helen Faison Professor of Urban Education, University of Pittsburgh
"Identity Work in the Classroom is an indispensable intervention into the research literature on culture, identity, and learning. Using rigorous methodology and sophisticated theoretical frameworks, Jones-Walker spotlights the dynamic interplay between identity work and educational processes. This bookoffers concrete examples of the ways that schools serve as complex yet fecund sites of identity work, as well as how our teaching and learning processes can be informed by careful and reflective consideration of identity. It is essential reading for teachers, educational leaders, and policymakers alike."
—Marc Lamont Hill, Distinguished Professor of African American Studies, Morehouse College