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

Michael P. O'Malley, Sarah Nelson


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.

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