Books & Articles | Teachers College Columbia University

Skip to content Skip to main navigation
Teachers College, Columbia University
Printer-friendly Version
Teachers College, Columbia Univeristy Logo

Books & Articles

IUME is proud of endorse a number of books that reflect the core values of IUME as well as share the works of current Director Ernest Morrell and Director Emeritus Edmund W. Gordon.

The Art of Critical Pedagogy:The Possibilities of Moving from Theory to Practice in Urban Schools (Peter Lang) by Ernest Morrell and Jeffrey M. Duncan-Andrade
Editorial Review from

This book furthers the discussion concerning critical pedagogy and its practical applications for urban contexts. It addresses two looming, yet under-explored questions that have emerged with the ascendancy of critical pedagogy in the educational discourse: (1) What does critical pedagogy look like in work with urban youth? and (2) How can a systematic investigation of critical work enacted in urban contexts simultaneously draw upon and push the core tenets of critical pedagogy? Addressing the tensions inherent in enacting critical pedagogy —between working to disrupt and to successfully navigate oppressive institutionalized structures, and between the practice of critical pedagogy and the current standards-driven climate—The Art of Critical Pedagogy seeks to generate authentic internal and external dialogues among educators in search of texts that offer guidance for teaching for a more socially just world.


Critical Literacy and Urban Youth: Pedagogies of Access, Dissent, and Liberation (Routledge)
by Ernest Morrell

Editorial Review from

“Critical Literacy and Urban Youth” offers an interrogation of critical theory developed from the author’s work with young people in classrooms, neighborhoods, and institutions of power. Through cases, an articulated process, and a theory of literacy education and social change, Morrell extends the conversation among literacy educators about what constitutes critical literacy while also examining implications for practice in secondary and postsecondary American educational contexts. This book is distinguished by its weaving together of theory and practice. Morrell begins by arguing for a broader definition of the “critical” in critical literacy - one that encapsulates the entire Western philosophical tradition as well as several important “Othered” traditions ranging from postcolonialism to the African-American tradition.Next, he looks at four cases of critical literacy pedagogy with urban youth: teaching popular culture in a high school English classroom; conducting community-based critical research; engaging in cyber-activism; and doing critical media literacy education. Lastly, he returns to theory, first considering two areas of critical literacy pedagogy that are still relatively unexplored: the importance of critical reading and writing in constituting and reconstituting the self, and critical writing that is not just about coming to a critical understanding of the world but that plays an explicit and self-referential role in changing the world. Morrell concludes by outlining a grounded theory of critical literacy pedagogy and considering its implications for literacy research, teacher education, classroom practice, and advocacy work for social change.

Linking Literacy and Popular Culture: Finding Connections for Future Learning by Ernest Morrell
Editorial Review from

Morrell’s book is profoundly important for teachers, teacher educators, and those who are interested in issues of 21st literacy acquisition more generally. What separates Morrell’s work from so much of the other pieces in this field is that they are emergent out of literacy instruction that he is actually doing himself. Much of what passes for literacy theory and urban educational theory more generally is profound on paper and passe in practice. This happens in large part because teachers struggle to understand what it means for them in their day to day practice and urban teacher educators struggle to help them with this challenge. Much can be said about why this is the case, but Morrell’s book helps us to begin to understand how to circumvent this shortcoming in the field of literacy development.

Becoming Critical Researchers by Ernest Morrell
Book Review from

Becoming Critical Researchers analyzes the findings of a two-year ethnographic study of the apprenticeship of urban youth as critical researchers of popular culture. Drawing on new literacy studies, critical pedagogy, and sociocultural learning theory, this book documents the changes in student participation within a critical research-focused community of practice. These changes include the acquisition and development of academic and critical literacies and the resulting translations of these literacies into increased academic performance, greater access to college, and commitment to social action. This book inserts critical and postmodern theory into the conception and evaluation of classroom practice and its findings suggest that programs centering on the lived experiences of teens can indeed achieve the goals of critical education, while also promoting academic achievement in urban schools.


Paths to Success: Beating the Odds in American Society by Charles Harrington and Susan K. Boardman
Book Review from

An excellent exploratory study that examines the lives of one hundred Americans who achieved success in their careers. In studying this upwardly mobile population, the authors examine the factors that led to this achievement and, in the reporting, they allow the reader to have a rare glimpse of at least one population that 'beats the odds.' Whether children of poverty with uneducated parents or those from middle-class homes and educated parents, the stories of the 'Pathmakers' make for fascinating reading.

--Yolanda T. Moses, President, City College of New York




Education and Justice: A View From the Back of the Bus by Edmund W. Gordon
Book Review from

This collection of essays reflects the author's commitment to improving the effectiveness of education and advancing the practice of democracy. All essays are introduced with commentaries in which Edmund Gordon contextualizes and explains the continuing relevance of the issues. 


Affirmative Development: Cultivating Academic Ability edited by Edmund W. Gordon and Beatrice L. Bridgeall
Book Review from

Affirmative Development makes the case theoretically for deliberate intervention to develop academic ability for students not naturally disposed to develop such ability by the conditions under which they live. The book includes discussions of intellective competence and intellective character as products of the development of academic ability and reviews of the research evidence for the feasibility and morality of such action. 



Supplementary Education: The Hidden Curriculum of High Academic Achievement
Book Review from

This book makes the case and lays the conceptual foundation for the significance of supplementary education in reducing the academic achievement gap between majority students and students of color. It further elaborates on the idea of supplementary education, which is based on the assumption that high academic achievement is closely associated with exposure to family and community-based activities and learning experiences that occur outside of school in support of academic learning.