Students on the Margins

Education, Stories, Dignity

By Jaylynne N. Hutcheson

Subjects: Sociology
Series: SUNY series, Urban Voices, Urban Visions
Paperback : 9780791441664, 166 pages, May 1999
Hardcover : 9780791441657, 166 pages, June 1999

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Table of contents



1. Imagining Education: The Questions We Ask

2. No Small Matter: Dignity in the Context of Education

3. Ignoring the Demands of Dignity: Marginalization and Resistance

4. The Role of Dignity: Nurturing the Narrative Self

5. The Power of Story: Identity Development and Meaning Making

6. Story and Our Moral Responsibility: Tellers and Listeners

7. Paying Attention to Stories: Education and Dignity




Proposes educators should focus on children's personal stories as a means to enhance dignity and, therefore, learning.


The focus of teaching is not on what we teach or how we test but, more fundamentally, on the quality of relationships, according to Jaylynne Hutchinson in Students on the Margins. Amid much talk of educational reform that focuses on pedagogy, curriculum, and policy, Hutchinson attests that when we don't pay attention to students' personal stories, students can become marginalized from the process of learning, not only via race, class, and gender, but also psycho-socially. Using story as a metaphor for paying attention to the meaning children create in their lives, she suggests how story can become an active part of the classroom and curriculum, asking teachers to pay attention to relationships and to create the space to accommodate stories in the classroom.

Jaylynne N. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies in Education at Ohio University.


"Reading Hutchinson's book inspired me to think more deeply about the role that dignity plays in the ordinary, everyday encounters I have with my own students, and to ask myself whether I am creating sufficient opportunities for us to share our 'core stories' with each other. Hutchinson's work engages the mind and touches the heart. It is important reading for anyone who cares about the future direction of education. " — Deborah Kerdeman, University of Washington