Critical Microethnography: The Search for Emancipatory Methods

Debra Mayes Pane, Tonette S. Rocco


This article entails an audit trail recounting the dilemma that drove the lead author to search out teaching and research methods that recognized the reconceptualization of what she had always believed to be true about education. First, we include a segment of her auto/biography as a White Southern female teacher of marginalized youth that drove her to take risks, challenge the status quo, and finally close the door on institutionalized classroom practices. Then, we discuss the theoretical framework, assumptions, and rationale for a welcoming research method that seemed to mimic what she practiced in the classroom with marginalized youth to transform conditions. We have named this method critical microethnography. The article concludes with an explanation of how to conduct critical microethnography based upon a review of the literature. By understanding why and how language is used to create unjust and/or just classroom cultures, perhaps oppressive educational practices and conditions can begin to transform into caring and responsive curricula for the benefit of society.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0902129


critical microethnography; alternative education; classroom research; oppressive educational practices; marginalized youth; social practices; literacy learning; USA

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Copyright (c) 2009 Debra Mayes Pane, Tonette S. Rocco

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