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Open Access Publications from the University of California

It's Not Whatever: How Teacher Leaders and Novice Teachers Develop as "Politically Determined Pedagogues" within an Urban High School

  • Author(s): Reyes, Gerald Tiglao
  • Advisor(s): Mahiri, Jabari
  • et al.


It’s NOT Whatever:

How teacher leaders and novice teachers develop as

“politically determined pedagogues” within an urban high school


Gerald Tiglao Reyes

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

University of California, Berkeley

Professor Jabari Mahiri, Chair

Implementing effective teacher development is one of the most critical aspects of school improvement. This study examines the cultural and structural nature and eventual outcomes of a politically relevant teacher development process in an urban high school that has a specific mission for its teachers to become humanizing, critically conscious, intellectual, and reflective practitioners. This critical participant research examined how three teacher leaders and three novice teachers of color representing English, social studies, and Science departments were facilitated within the school to make sense of and develop as what came to be termed “Politically Determined Pedagogues.” Data utilized for this study included existing school documents from the site, participant meetings, participant narratives, observations of participants during school organized teacher collaborations, participant interviews, field notes, and memos. Data was analyzed by initially coding to develop specific categories and eventual themes to capture the nature of focal participant activities within and across several cycles of the teacher development process. The findings illuminate a dynamic and systemic process of teacher development as humanizing, critically conscious, intellectually engaged, and reflective practitioners within the context of a School Cohesion Container as a framework. Within this framework, nurturing teachers’ political perspectives as Politically Determined Pedagogues was operationalized in a way that could be adapted for teacher development in other urban schools as well as for teacher preparation programs.

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