Following Freire…

October 21, 2014

There is so much to take away from this week’s readings! For one, as educators we often do not take into account problems in language and translation—not just from one language to another, but from one field or discipline, to another. This leads to an additional problem—meaning making is not rational (to all). We have to re/learn to seek knowledge alongside students. Lastly, Kincheloe asserts that “the construction of a neutral curriculum is impossible.” By focusing on the individual and experience Freire alludes to pedagogy of growth rather than a set curriculum.

The talk of teaching can be overwhelming and the joy and radical possibilities lost when one individual (here, me, the instructor) is supposed to hold all the knowledge. When the process is just that—a process—learning becomes a journey. It is not always easy, but it is fun. Just as we have discussed that student do best when the “pressure is off” I believe instructors do as well. Pressure does not equal accountability. Often I believe it is pressure that leads us to enter the safe zone of lecturing—filling the bank—rather than taking risks and understanding and practicing education as an act of freedom. It is, according to Freire, our job to create possibilities for the construction of knowledge, not to construct and deliver.

 

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Goddard’s philosophy (my undergraduate institution) focuses on Dewey more so than Freire, however it is interesting to see how the philosophy’s we are discussing can be radically applied.

Goddard’s Educational Philosophy:

Our philosophy of education starts with the individual and holds that each person is truly unique, and is based on the ideas of John Dewey: that experience and education are intricately linked.

Students at Goddard work with faculty to direct their studies according to their personal and professional interests, goals, gifts, and desires. Students develop the capacity to understand their lives in an ever-changing social context, and thereby to take meaningful action in the world. They are encouraged to question received knowledge and the status quo and to create new understandings of the world and of human experience. As a collaborative interdependent learning community, we respect, include and appreciate differing perspectives.

  • We challenge ourselves and each other to embrace uncertainty, experiment, and imagine unexpected outcomes. Recognizing our interconnectedness with others and with the earth, we hold our scholarship and our actions to the highest standards of integrity, authenticity, and compassion.
  • We recognize that teaching and learning are fully realized when they include a wide range of people, cultures, experiences, abilities and fields of knowledge.
  • Understanding that access to resources and social and political power are not equally distributed, we offer the means to explore and articulate a wide range of personal and cultural understandings of well-being and justice, and to take action to create a more just world.
  • In addition to keeping our education affordable, we create academic and campus environments that all Goddard community members can use.
  • We recognize the increasing impact of human activity on our planet’s limited resources.  In our educational and institutional practices, we are committed to thoughtful and sustainable action that increases individual and social capacity for environmental stewardship and an improved future.

 

This philosophy, while not perfect and too radical for some (there has been uproar against Mumia Abu Jamal speaking at this year’s graduation ceremony via a recording), it works with many of the difficulties pointed out in the Kincheloe article.

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