Book Review Online Exclusive
The Pedagogy of Confidence
Inspiring High Intellectual Performance in Urban Schools
by Yvette Jackson, Teachers College Press, New York, N.Y., 2011, 208 pages, $27.95 softcover
Yvette Jackson, chief executive officer of the National Urban Alliance, writes as a researcher and practitioner with deep knowledge in literacy, gifted education and cognitive mediation theory. Her book, The Pedagogy of Confidence: Inspiring High Intellectual Performance in Urban Schools, is an important treatise for teachers, school administrators, superintendents and board of education members interested in raising the bar of academic success beyond the proficiency level on standardized tests.
Jackson skillfully debunks myths used to justify serving adolescents in urban settings a steady diet of narrowly constructed educational activities to improve a test score. Her work argues that high intellectual performance can be achieved by adolescents in urban settings when instruction and classroom environment are modified to include teaching practices normally associated with the education of the gifted.
Jackson’s framework of “High Operational Practices” provides readers with a replicable set of teaching practices which can increase the odds of success for school-dependent adolescents in learning experiences requiring high intellectual performance. She emphasizes supportive teacher/student relationships and maintains that schools have a responsibility to provide students the knowledge and skills necessary for rigorous academic pursuits.
The landscape of public education is shifting as we gear up for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, which raise the academic performance bar for the nation’s schoolchildren. Jackson challenges us to modify our views of adolescent learners in urban contexts and provides the reader sound, evidence-based strategies to do so. The structures, processes and conditions are clearly defined and can be adapted for implementation in urban schools and classrooms.
Reviewed by Larry Leverett, executive director, Panasonic Foundation, Secaucus, N.J.