Black Mountain College compelled me to continue my education. It’s pedagogy and process is what drives my research today. How to not acculturate oneself to the contours of the academy today*, when alternative learning spaces (vastly different than white washed rooms with desks neatly aligned) were (and are) the venues where I began to learn the art of inquiry and research is a problem I struggle with during each class period. As a learner outside of the traditional classroom (form, setting, construct) I became what Paulo Freire calls the subject. What does this look like within a traditional institute today?
*As students ask me what will be on the exam, I feel their pressure. I immediately consider the losses if they do not feel satisfied with the assessment of their knowledge– if something beyond true/false and multiple choice answers is sought– will students feel practicing critical thinking and creation of knowledge over memorization is not adequate? I push these thoughts aside. The questions are why we are here– where is Appalachia, who is Appalachian, what is extraction, how to we imagine alternatives, rewrite history, deconstruct stereotypes, and create new knowledge–we are here, together to seek and in doing so we will grow.
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