Student Engagement in Urban Schools

Beyond Neoliberal Discourses

Edited by:
Brenda J. McMahon, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
John P. Portelli, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

A volume in the series: Issues in the Research, Theory, Policy, and Practice of Urban Education. Editor(s): Denise E. Armstrong, Brock University. William S. Ankomah, St. Francis Xavier University, Canada.

Published 2012

The focus of this book extends the discourse on student engagement beyond prescriptive definitions and includes substantive ethical and political issues relating to this concept. As such, this collection includes voices of educational theorists, practitioners, and students. It provides a counter discourse to the current dialogue on student engagement in educational theory and practice which equate it primarily with behavioral and attitudinal characteristics including student compliance and qualities of teaching or teachers.

In this collection, engagement is not viewed simply as a matter of techniques, strategies or behaviours. Rather, the understandings of student engagement presented, while distinct from each other, are imbued with a common vision of education for democratic transformation or reconstruction as operational for and in democratic communities. Contributors to this volume examine issues of the purpose of student engagement, and the question of the criteria, standards, and norms which are used to determine the quality and degree of engagement, and ultimately whether or not all forms of student engagement are equally worthwhile. This collection is intended for use in teacher and administrator preparation programs as well as school and district professional development initiatives.

Acknowledgements. Series Editors’ Preface, Denise E. Armstrong and Brenda J. McMahon. The Challenges of Neoliberalism in Education: Implications for Student Engagement, Brenda J. McMahon and John P. Portelli. From Student Voice to Democratic Community: New Beginnings, Radical Continuities, Michael Fielding. Education in and for Democracy: Conceptions of Schooling and Student Voice, Brenda J. McMahon. Insiders versus Outsiders: Examining Variability in Student Voice Initiatives and Their Consequences for School Change, Dana Mitra and Ben Kirshner. When Students “Speak Back”: Student Engagement Towards a Socially Just Society, John Smyth. Aspiration and Education: Toward New Terms of Engagement for Marginalized Students, Sam Sellar and Trevor Gale. Transformative Student Engagement—An Empowering Pedagogy: An Australian Experience in the Classroom, David Zyngier. Thinking the Unthinkable: Teachers Who Engage Students in Poverty: “In this class you can imagine...”, Geoff Munns. Reconsidering the Rhetoric of Engagement: I and Thou in the Classroom, Deborah L. Seltzer-Kelly. Teaching Controversial Issues: An Educational Imperative, Amanda Cooper and John P. Portelli. About the Contributors.