Teachers as civic agents: Toward a critical democratic theory of urban teacher development

Nicole Mirra, Ernest Morrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Under the guise of increasing quality and accountability, many urban teacher education programs and professional development models characterize educators as mere transmitters of standardized content knowledge.The authors argue that such dehumanizing practices, which are rooted in the discourse of neoliberalism, prevent teachers from helping their students develop powerful literacies and civic skills.The authors seek to disrupt mainstream views about teaching and learning by instead envisioning the "Teacher as Civic Agent." By reevaluating theories of schooling and democracy and analyzing a particular learning community that conceptualizes teachers as public intellectuals, this work aims to make an important theoretical shift in how educators, politicians, and policy makers think about the purpose of education in a democracy.The authors argue for new paradigm of teacher education in which teachers engage with local communities, become producers of knowledge, and work collectively in solidarity with their students to create social change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-420
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Teacher Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


  • critical theory/critical pedagogy
  • multicultural teacher education
  • urban teacher education


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