Change Matters

sj Miller & David E. Kirkland

change matters Essays on Moving Social Justice

Change Matters, written by leading scholars committed to social justice in English education, provides researchers, university instructors, and preservice and inservice teachers with a framework that pivots social justice toward policy.

The chapters in this volume detail rationales about generating social justice theory in what Freire calls “the revolutionary process” through essays that support research about teaching about the intersections between teaching for social change and teaching about social injustices, and directs us toward the significance of enacting social justice methodologies.

​The text unpacks how education, spiritual beliefs, ethnicity, age, gender, ability, social class, political beliefs, marital status, sexual orientation, gender expression, language, national origin, and education intersect with the principles by which we live and the multiple identities that we embody as we move from space to space. This book is critical reading for anyone who strives to cease inequitable schooling practices by conducting research in education to inform more just policies. 

Table of Contents

Glynda Hull

Introduction: Teaching Social Justice
sj Miller and David E. Kirkland 
Scaffolding and Embedding Social Justice in to English Education
sj Miller

Finding Fragments and Locating Friction: Understanding Social Justice in the Postmodern World
Laura Bolf-Beliveau and Ralph Beliveau

Youth Writing Across Media: A Note About the What and the How
Korina M. Jocson

Literacies and Identities for All
Margaret Hagood

Beyond Member Checks: Moving Toward Transformative Data Analysis
Janet Alsup

Critically Conscious Analysis: Emancipating Literacy Research
Arlette Ingram Willis

Nomadic Science: Lines for Conducting and Assembling Education. Research and Practice
A. Jonathan Eakle

Studying Literacy Practices in Classrooms Using Critical Discourse Analysis: From the Bottom Up
David Bloome, Stephanie Carter, and Ayanna F. Brown

Critical Ethnographies of Discourse: An Essay on Collecting Noise
David E. Kirkland

Context and Narrative in Sociocultural Research
Bob Fecho/Janette R. Hill

Irreducible Difference, Social Justice, and Autobiographical Qualitative Research: (Im)Possible Representations
Janet L. Miller
The Debate About Teacher Quality: Policy, Politics, and Social Justice
Marilyn Cochran-Smith

Language Education and Social Justice in English Education Policy
Leslie David Burns

Discourse-Oriented Research and Democratic Justice
Mary M. Juzwik and Matt Ferkany

Embodying Socially Just Policy in Practice
Gerald Campano and Lenny Sánchez
Afterword: Matters Change; And Why Change Matters
Peter McLaren 


In this compelling group of essays, editors sj Miller and David E. Kirkland, and the distinguished authors they have assembled, point out how social justice can and indeed, must, be visible in English education. Eschewing the pseudo-neutral world of traditional research, they suggest instead that researchers and educators provide a counternarrative to the field based on moral agency and equity. Passionate and convincing, these essays will be invaluable to those looking to make change that matters in English education.

  • Sonia Nieto, Professor Emerita, Language, Literacy, and Culture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

‘Change Matters’, which gestures toward policies of social justice in English education, is admirable in its concern, refreshing in its specificity, and correct in its optimism. It insightfully demonstrates how we can speak words to action as we begin to extract students, teachers, and ourselves from this neo-liberal morass. I hope that this book’s call to place equity and human dignity at the heart of educational policy and practice resounds from every local hallway to the Hill.

  • Keith Gilyard, Distinguished Professor of English, The Pennsylvania State University

‘All’s well,’ says the town crier as he lights the lamps for the night, spreading the gospel of stability and inevitability. But his purpose is pure mystification, for all is certainly not well. ‘Change Matters’ is a kind of antidote: it invites us to open our eyes to the deception, and to notice that the current moment is neither fixed nor immutable nor entirely determined, and, further, that its imperfections and injustices – all the unnecessary suffering, all the undeserved pain – must become a cause for resistance. Teachers, who often feel themselves shackled, bound, and gagged, will find here allies with whom to oppose passivity and cynicism, and plenty of reasons to announce, through action, the seeds of a new world in-the-making. Miller and Kirkland incite us to pay closer attention, to be astonished, and to get busy in a project of repair. They have gathered here a community of smart educators and thinkers who remind us that whatever we find to be the case sits side-by-side with what might be the case or what should be the case. They urge us to live with one foot planted firmly in the world as it is, while the other strides confidently and hopefully toward a world that could be, but is not yet. 

  • William Ayers, Senior University Scholar, Distinguished Professor of Education, University of Illinois at Chicago; Author of ‘Teaching Toward Freedom’

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