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Civic Literacy in Schools and Communities

Teaching and Organizing for a Revitalized Democracy

Brian Charest Kevin K. Kumashiro

160 pages
Teachers College Press

This practical book provides teachers, teacher educators, and school leaders with concrete strategies for doing community-based work.

By reframing the act of teaching to include working for social change, the author pushes readers to see school and community revitalization as reciprocal, not separate, projects. Drawing on the strategies and tactics of community organizers and activists, Charest describes an approach to schooling that addresses the social and economic concerns that students and families in under-resourced communities confront in their daily lives. He uses a decolonial framework to examine how schools can decenter Whiteness and reimagine curriculum and teaching. He also shows teacher educators how they can better prepare the next generation of civic-minded teachers to create a more just and democratic society.

This model of intentional community engagement, when initiated by teachers and school leadership, is designed to re-position schools to take up questions of equity, racism, and the long-term health and well-being of individuals and communities.

Book Features:

  • Outlines useful strategies for teachers, teacher educators, and school leaders who want to enact community engagement.
  • Explores how educators can center the voices and experiences of people of color to revitalize teaching and learning.
  • Explains how to build curriculum around local history to address everyday concerns in communities.
  • Provides community engagement strategies for middle and high school educators.
Author Bio

Brian Charest is assistant professor in the School of Education at the University of Redlands and former public high school English teacher in both Chicago and Seattle.