Pedagogy for a Cause

When I first started studying Information Systems (IS), as a former Industrial Engineer, the first thing I did was to figure out what IS scholars study. Roughly speaking, the field is mainly focusing on technology and how humans and technology interact. It blew my mind when I saw various papers about various uses of technology. However, there were two studies that changed my paradigm of thinking (you may find the citations below). These papers were about ICT (Information Communication Technology) and its use for education. Venkatesh et al., after working on the project for a decade, was able to educate women in Rural India and reduce maternal mortality rates. Young analyzed how technology can help to raise awareness of the Klamath Tribes of Oregon and help them gain their cultural identity back. After reading this week’s articles, I connected them with these two studies that I read and reflected on how education can change the world. And change starts with the individuals.

I came from a very competitive environment in which everyone was trying to be the best because that was the only way to survive. Not getting into the best 5 colleges in the country would mean that I would be at a disadvantage. Being aware of this fact, my parents and teachers always challenged me, they sought perfection and put big pressure on me. It was tough but I knew that they had good intentions. Later I realized that this was the case because not being from a country with a strong economy means that I am at a disadvantage. They assigned two missions to me and all the youth of the country: empower yourself with education and empower your country with the knowledge so that you leave a legacy to the future generations. That was a very big cause that all of us had in our hearts. When I was reading Darder’s piece Teaching as an Act of Love, his references to Pedagogy of the Oppressed reminded me of all my teachers back in my country. When he argued that the teachers of the minority people had a more special cause, and they understand that teaching is an act of love and compassion. Because those teachers know that they are the ones who can save those disadvantaged groups. They are the ones to make a real difference. They don’t just make a living with teaching, they help the empowerment of disadvantaged people, and this makes a significant difference in their teaching style. They genuinely care about each and every student. They challenge them, and they support them when needed. Their passion to empower students is fueled by one premise: change starts with the individuals.

Venkatesh, V., Sykes, T. A., & Zhang, X. (2020). ICT for development in rural india: a longitudinal study of women’s health outcomes. MIS Quarterly44(2).

Young, A. G. (2018). Using ICT for social good: Cultural identity restoration through emancipatory pedagogy. Information Systems Journal28(2), 340-358.