Acts of Resistance
Subversive Teaching in the English Language Arts Classroom
Published: January 2020
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Published: January 2020
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Published: February 2020

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Published: February 2020
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6" x 9"
Language: English

A 2021 SPE Outstanding Book Award Winner

In 1969, Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner published Teaching as a Subversive Activity. Subversive teaching today, however, looks very different than it did in 1969. Teachers today must deliver their instruction in an era of formidable challenges related to curriculum, educational policy, and cultural and political ideology. Students learn in an environment that includes active shooter drills and increasingly violent public policy that assaults immigrants, people of Color, women, and the LGBTQIA+ community. A robust public education is needed now more than ever, though the resources to provide it dwindle daily.

Acts of Resistance: Subversive Teaching in the English Language Arts (ELA) Classroom showcases examples of subversive pedagogy to instruct and inspire teachers and to contextualize subversive ELA pedagogy in the contemporary educational moment. Chapter authors--in-service teachers and teacher educators alike--draw from case studies, narrative inquiry, and other qualitative methodologies to explain how they have variously taken up subversive pedagogy in the ELA classroom. Because teachers and other stakeholders resist oppressive structures—including disciplinary confinements—when they teach from subversive viewpoints, each chapter describes a disciplinary “act of resistance” that illuminates possibilities for countering uncritical, “traditional” handling of ELA experiences.

Perfect for courses such as:
ELA Methods | Literacy Methods | Social Justice | Critical Literacy | Writing | Literature | Disciplinary Literacy | Curriculum Theory |  Pedagogy | ELA Professional Development (Inservice Teachers)

Table of Contents:


Introduction: What Is Subversive Disciplinary Literacy?
Jeanne Dyches, Brandon Sams, and Ashley S. Boyd

1. Black Words Matter: Bending Literary Close Reading Toward Justice
Scott Storm

2. Arguing for Empathy: Subverting the Teaching of Argumentation
Crystal Sogar and Melanie Shoffner

3. “Well, I Took It There”: Subversive Teaching to (Disrupt) the Test
Leah Panther and Selena Hughes

4. Inquiry Ignites! Pushing Back Against Traditional Literacy Instruction
Jill Stedronsky and Kristen Hawley Turner

5. “Climb Into Their Skin”: Whiteness and the Subversion of Perspective
Anna Mae Tempus and Carey Applegate

6. Amplifying Teacher Voices Through Instagram: Subversive Teaching Meets the 21st Century
Michelle M. Falter and Megan DuVarney Forbes

7. Making a “Safe” and Subversive Space for Students’ Lives Through Open Mic
Caroline T. Clark and Jill M. Williams

8. The Responsible Change Project: Subverting the Standardized English Language Arts Curriculum
Heather Coffey and Steve Fulton

9. Disability as Pedagogy: Vulnerability as a Social Justice Tool
Katie Roquemore

10. Gender Bending the Curriculum: Queer Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare in High School
Ryan Burns and Janine Boiselle

11. Interrupting “Single Stories”: Using Socially Just Media Texts to Teach Rhetorical Analysis
Lori Garcia and Michael Manderino

12. Can We Talk?: Promoting Anti-Oppressive Futures for Girls of Color Through a Social Justice Enrichment Program
Dorothy E. Hines, Jemimah Young, Rossina Zamora Liu, and Diana Wandix-White

13. Subverting Curricula and Assessment Design by Using Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices: My Culturally Responsive World Literature Course
Kristen R. Strom

14. “Why Can’t They Test Us on This?” A Framework for Transforming Intensive Reading Instruction
Amanda Lacy and Angela M. Kohnen

15. Reading The Odyssey Today: Subversive Outsiders, Stances, and Journeys
April Zongker McNary and R. Joseph Rodríguez

16. Revolutionizing the Canon: Repositioning Texts During Politically Tumultuous Times
Katie Aquino and Gena Khodos

17. The Case of Courtenay: Subversive Resistance in English Teacher Evaluation
Meghan A. Kessler and Angela L. Masters

About the Authors


Reviews & Endorsements:

"(T)his text supplies a much-needed collection of voices from the field who are seeking socially just, anti-oppressive futures. For teacher educators looking for examples that illustrate critical theory and reflect diverse teacher perspectives, this text contributes important examples and powerful stories."

“ELA teachers—now more than ever—are faced with awful decisions in the current context of teaching: Should they do what is best for their students or what will allow them to keep working with students? Dyches, Sams, and Boyd emphatically say, “Both” and I agree the way forward in ELA instruction is to be subversive, to be acutely aware of the dominant discourses and work constantly to help students write themselves into the discussions, texts, and narratives of their multi-faceted and complex lives. These editors and authors provide just what the profession needs at just the right time.”

Christian Z. Goering, Ph.D. University of Arkansas Professor, English Education Chair, English Language Arts Teacher Educators

“How else to abandon the status quo of generations of inequitable schooling than through subversion? By giving voice to silenced topics, advocating for crafty, alternative assessments, and showcasing the ways these changes ignite their students into lovers of language and advocates in the world, teachers in this book dignify and insist upon the ethics of subversion in the English classroom.”

Sophia Tatiana Sarigianides, Ph.D., Professor & Coordinator of English Education, Westfield State University

Acts of Resistance: Subversive Teaching in the English Language Arts Classroom is timely, thoughtful, and important. Now, more than ever, we need subversive English language arts teachers—public intellectuals and professionals who deeply understand their discipline and know how to use that disciplinary knowledge to engage students in critical, transformative learning. Together, the narratives featured in this book offer a complex, compelling, and accessible picture of what it means to be subversive and to enact change”

Amanda Haertling Thein, Ph.D., University of Iowa Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Programs Professor

“The portraits in this collection highlight teachers, curriculum, and pedagogy that enact subversive teaching—a critical stance in classrooms that promotes opportunity for all students. Situated within our current era of external mandates that are increasingly aimed at standardizing instruction, this text pushes the field to consider what possibilities exist for generative action and agency in ELA classrooms today.”

Heidi Hallman, Ph.D., University of Kansas Professor