Abstract 9- Volume 3, Number 3, Winter 2008

Social Studies Research and Practice

Volume 3, Number 3, Winter 2008




Lucy Sprague Mitchell’s Perspectives on Social Education Meet Social Justice

Lois McFadyen Christensen
University of Alabama at Birmingham


Lucy Sprague Mitchell’s belief was that active, experiential learning, in particular human geography, was the core to which all content areas were tied. Given that life is lived in a social context, she believed that early childhood education should mirror the same. At Bank Street, education began with the child’s world. Educators linked it to the community and moved outward. Children learned how their lives of the here and now connected to other places and people in the world. Mitchell was a forerunner in curriculum development and qualitative research methods. She envisioned teaching critical pedagogy, although, she did not use the verbiage. Mitchell’s commitment to social justice was that of a renaissance educator.

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About the Author(s)…

Lois McFadyen Christensen, Associate Professor of elementary social studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, teaches and researches issues concerning learning elementary social studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She facilitates learning in critical pedagogy and qualitative research methods. Most summers, she team-teaches a Civil Rights Movement course accompanied by the city schools and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. She served on the PBS Advisory Board for TeacherSource.

Primary contact mailing address: University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department of of Education, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, 109 EB, 901 13th South, Birmingham, AL 35294-1240; email: lmchrist@uab.edu.