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Teaching for a Living Democracy

Project-Based Learning in the English and History Classroom

Joshua Block Carla Shalaby

144 pages
Teachers College Press

This classroom narrative explores how teachers can build and sustain an intellectually and emotionally fulfilling teaching practice while changing the way students experience school. Written by an English and history teacher in a Philadelphia public high school, this book presents a framework of teaching for a living democracy—supporting learners to produce intellectually rigorous and creative work by designing instruction that intersects with students' lives and interests. The text offers project-based units of study and classroom practices that allow students to reconfigure understandings of themselves, their capabilities, and their roles in the world. Packed with student voices and the work of youth, this book provides a rich window into classroom practices that challenge authoritarian tendencies while cultivating dignity and agency.

Book Features:

  • Shares a vision of project-based inquiry learning that is rooted in systemic understandings of social change.
  • Provides a pragmatic framework and tools to help teachers develop their practice in creative and sustainable ways.
  • Shows how to support diverse learners, with a special focus on the experiences of students who struggle.
  • Includes many classroom scenes and examples of curriculum design strategies.
  • Offers the realistic perspective of a teacher working in an urban public high school.
Author Bio

Joshua Block teaches public high school students English and history in Philadelphia. He is a teacher educator, a national board certified teacher, and recipient of a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching.