Teachers College Press









Literacy for a Better World
The Promise of Teaching in Diverse Classrooms

Laura Schneider VanDerPloeg
Foreword by David Schaafsma
Language & Literacy Series
Pub Date: September 2012, 192 pages

Paperback: $32.95, ISBN: 0807753513
Cloth: $72, ISBN: 0807753521
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“VanDerPloeg doesn't just inspire us with cool perspectives and ideas about social justice teaching, she shows us how it works in real classrooms with stories of practice; she gives us real strategies to go along with her vision.”
—From the Foreword by David Schaafsma, University of Illinois at Chicago

“VanDerPloeg has given us a wonderfully clear and practical guide to building secondary classrooms that foster deep understanding, strong student voices, impressive academic rigor, and passionate commitment to creating a better world.”
Randy Bomer, The University of Texas at Austin

This book brings literacy research and culturally relevant pedagogy together to offer a comprehensive vision of what socially just teaching can look like in the secondary English classroom. The author, an experienced professional developer and teacher, provides a powerful framework for analyzing classroom instruction with regard to ideals of stance, relevance, access, identity, and agency. Chapters provide models that have worked in real classrooms, including a model for developing units of study in social justice. The final chapter addresses how educational leaders can create conditions for socially just teaching and learning in today's diverse schools.

Book Features:

  • A focus on the challenges teachers are likely to face, particularly in schools with struggling, disengaged students.
  • Guidance for navigating the everyday complexities of the classroom.
  • Strategies for responding to critical moments in the classroom.
  • Lesson plans and vignettes from urban schools.
  • Leadership principles for putting socially just teaching into action.

Laura Schneider VanDerPloeg is a national consultant with extensive experience working with schools and districts to improve student reading, writing, and thinking. In her 23 years as a classroom teacher, researcher, and professional developer, her work has focused on supporting secondary students and teachers in diverse and underserved schools.


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