The Public Pedagogy of Student Activists in Chile: What Have We Learned From the Penguins’ Revolution?


  • Michael P. O'Malley Texas State University
  • Sarah Nelson Texas State University


In response to the call for more empirical research on the process of public pedagogy (Sandlin, O’Malley, & Burdick, 2011), this article examines the 2006 secondary school student protests for educational equity in Chile through the lens of public pedagogy. Drawing from interview data with student leaders in one secondary school in Santiago de Chile, this narrative inquiry centers on understanding how leadership and pedagogy function within a social movement grounded in agency for justice. The research questions and data analysis address issues of pedagogical dimensions, coalition building, and observable effects of the student movement. Findings suggest that the process employed by the participants is reflective of Brady’s (2006) feminist conceptualization of public pedagogy, which prioritizes grassroots, collective phenomena and alliances across difference.

Author Biographies

Michael P. O'Malley, Texas State University

Michael P. O’Malley is an Associate Professor of Educational and Community Leadership and Interim Department Chair at Texas State University. His research interests include public pedagogy and leadership for educational equity. Michael served as a 2012-2013 Fulbright Scholar in Chile.


Sarah Nelson, Texas State University

Sarah W. Nelson is an Associate Professor of Educational and Community Leadership at Texas State University.  She is a former practitioner and her research interests center on policies and practices related to issues of educational equity