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In an article entitled “It should just be education: Critical pedagogy normalized as academic excellence (Scorza, Mirra, Morrell, 2013) the authors explore critical pedagogy in two programs in California in both classroom and out of school settings. They begin by saying that North American educators have been fascinated by “the idea of a pedagogy for critical consciousness”, but further research is needed to answer questions such as how we determine how “success” is measured.
Paolo Freire, in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, talked about “transformation at both the individual and social levels with the view that these processes are inseparable.” (Merriam and Bierama, 2014).
A later publication, A Pedagogy for Liberation: Dialogues on Transforming Education, Freire and Ira Shor discuss and demonstrate “the effectiveness of dialogue in action as a practical means by which teachers and students can become active participants in the learning process; they demonstrate how vital the teacher’s role is in empowering students to think critically, and illustrate the possibilities of transformational learning by describing their own experiences in liberating the classroom from its traditional constraints.”
After reading about these two passionate, world renowned educators, I felt a way to initiate a transformative learning experience, would be to have the class read the classic anti-racist article ”White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” or view Peggy McIntosh providing a description of her transformation that ultimately resulted in her writing this piece. It is always powerful in its ability to begin the dialogue and deeply personal experiences, reactions and perspectives – creating the “human-world relationship” that Freire describes; “the point of departure must always be with men and women in the ‘here and now,’ which constitutes the situation within which they are submerged, from which they emerge, and in which they intervene.” Some learning is about change in perspective usually at the individual level, but sometimes with an added goal of changing society itself” (Merriam and Bierema, 2014.)
This idea could not have a greater poignancy than at the present time.
These concepts will help my instruction by ensuring I keep an open mind and reaffirm my belief that where someone comes from or what they believe should never prevent them from having an equitable,optimal learning experience.