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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities




School of Education and Human Services


There is a dearth of research concerning critical communities of learning in affluent Catholic high schools. This ethnography captured a culture of praxis developed through the process of five educators team-teaching an interdisciplinary AP Seminar course at St. Aurelia’s Catholic High School on Long Island, New York, from September 2021 to February 2022, with a particular emphasis on Catholic Social Teaching as an authentic avenue for the implementation of social justice education. Observations, one-to-one interviews, focus group discussions, peer-observations, and journals were recorded and coded to explore the facets of the team culture engaged in this collaborative endeavor. A culture of praxis was observed, although it was complicated by the emergence of competing cultural “currents” from the school and broader community. Undercurrents of “busyness,” “politeness,” “compartmentalization,” “unconstructive guilt,” “sensitivity to reactionary forces,” and “deference to authority” were acknowledged by participants as interrupting collective praxis. Outercurrents of “neoliberalism,” “corporal acts of mercy,” “middle class values,” “bureaucratization,” “political polarization,” and “cautiousness of the Church” were also recognized as mitigating factors. Findings in this study suggest the possibility of praxis development in affluent Catholic schools and may offer a rough road map on how to navigate the difficult terrain of building a critical culture in these spaces

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