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Review: Review: Exactly How Do We Go against the Grain?: Going against the Grain: Supporting the Student-Centered Teacher by Elizabeth Aaronsohn

Reviewed Work: Going against the Grain: Supporting the Student-Centered Teacher by Elizabeth Aaronsohn
Review by: Andrew B. T. Gilbert
Curriculum Inquiry
Vol. 32, No. 4 (Winter, 2002), pp. 483-492
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3202232
Page Count: 10
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Exactly How Do We Go against the Grain?
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Abstract

In Going against the Grain: Supporting the Student-Centered Teacher, Aaronsohn portrays many of the difficulties faced when teachers try to "go against the grain" in institutions of public education. In this instance, "going against the grain" refers to implementing constructivist curricula in a high school English class, where most of the school's faculty did not support or approve of these types of curricular strategies. This study documents the ways Sheila, a beginning teacher, developed her own pedagogical philosophy during her first two years of teaching and how Aaronsohn supported Sheila in that pursuit. The goal of this critique is to argue for the importance of clarifying theoretical approaches and positionalities when working to "go against the grain." Aaronsohn does not offer a clear theoretical framework underlying the methodology and pedagogical techniques employed by Sheila. Furthermore, Aaronsohn discusses issues related to social agency and empowerment without introspection into her or Sheila's own cultural, economic, and political locations, which are essential issues that must be addressed in order to make student empowerment and agency a reality. Aaronsohn provides a powerful account of the situations many new teachers will be facing in the classroom; however, she misses many opportunities to facilitate beginning teachers in developing a student-centered/constructivist environment in their classrooms.

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