Democracy and Critical Pedagogy: Seeking social justice and transformation. Dr. Paul R. Carr Dr. Gina Thésée Lakehead University (Orillia) Université du Québec à Montréal. Part 1 of 4 lectures.
Democracy and Critical Pedagogy:Seeking social justice and transformation
Dr. Paul R. Carr Dr. Gina Thésée
Lakehead University (Orillia) Université du Québec à Montréal
2. DemocracyDemocracy can be messy. It is not static. It is complex. It involves diverse interests, concerns, interventions. It relates to power, and far surpasses the existence of elections. It is a process. We should be comfortable and open in accepting that our knowledge is limited. Critically-engaged education is fundamental to creating the conditions for democracy.
Principles from Democracy and diversity: Checklist for teaching for, and about, democracy (Banks et al., 2005)
Concepts from Democracy and diversity: Checklist for teaching for, and about, democracy (Banks et al., 2005)
Parker (2003): conceptualization of democratic education
First, democratic education is not a neutral project, but one that tries to predispose citizens to principled reasoning and just ways of being with one another.
Second, educators need simultaneously to engage in multicultural education and citizenship education….
Third, the diversity that schools contain makes extraordinarily fertile soil for democratic education….
Fourth, this dialogue plays an essential and vital role in democratic education, moral development, and public policy….
Fifth, the access/inclusion problem that we (still) face today is one of extending democratic education to students who are not typically afforded it. (pp. xvi–xvii)
Progressive (thick) vs minimalist (thin) interpretations of democracy
(Portelli and Solomon, 2001)
“common elements such as critical thinking, dialogue and discussion, tolerance, free and reasoned choices, and public participation … which are associated with equity, community, creativity, and taking difference seriously … [a] conception [that] is contrasted with the notion of democracy that is minimalist, protectionist, and marginalist and hence promotes a narrow notion of individualism and spectacular citizenship.” (p. 17)
Denzin (2009) and a “critical democratic pedagogy”
It is not enough to understand any given reality.... (p. 381)
Pedagogical practices are always moral and practical.... (p. 381)
...critical pedagogy disrupts those hegemonic cultural and education practices that reproduce the logics of neoliberal conservatism. (p. 381)
...critical pedagogy encourages resistance to the “discourses of privatization, consumerism, the methodologies of standardization and accountability, and the new disciplinary techniques of surveillance” (Giroux & Giroux, 2005, p. 3). Critical pedagogy provides the tools for understanding how cultural and educational practices contribute to the construction of neoliberal conceptions of identity, citizenship, and agency. (p. 381)
Critical pedagogy offers transformative intellectuals a method, a theory, and a set of practices for putting the critical sociological imagination to work. This project involves constructing and enacting pedagogies of hope and freedom, ways of keeping the idea of a radical democracy alive (p. 393).
Elaboration of critical pedagogy by Joe Kincheloe
• Grounded on a social and educational vision of justice and equality
• Constructed on the belief that education is inherently political
• Dedicated to the alleviation of human suffering
• Concerned that schools don’t hurt students; good schools don’t blame students for their failures or strip students of the knowledge’s they bring to the classroom
• Enacted through the use of generative themes involve the educational use of issues that are central to students’ lives as a grounding for the curriculum
• Centered on the notion that teachers should be researchers: here teachers learn to produce and teach students to produce their own knowledges
• Grounded on the notion that teachers become researchers of their students: as researchers, teachers study their students, their backgrounds, & the forces that shape them
Elaboration of critical pedagogy by Joe Kincheloe
• Interested in maintaining a delicate balance between social change and cultivating the intellect: this requires a rigorous pedagogy that accomplishes both goals
• Concerned with” the margins” of society, the experiences and needs of individuals faced with oppression and subjugation
• Constructed on the awareness that science can be used as a force to regulate and control
• Dedicated to understanding the context in which educational activity takes place
• Committed to resistant the harmful effects of dominant power
• Attuned to the importance of complexity--understands complexity theory--in constructing a rigorous and transformative education
• Focused on understanding the profound impact of neo-colonial structures in shaping education and knowledge
The determinant point was the reading of Paulo Freire’s book: “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, the foundation book of Critical Pedagogy
“How can the oppressed, as divided, unauthentic beings, participate in developing the pedagogy of their liberation? Only as they discover themselves to be “hosts” of the oppressor can they contribute to the midwifery of their liberating pedagogy. …The pedagogy of the oppressed is an instrument for their critical discovery that both they and their oppressors are manifestations of dehumanization. Liberation is thus a childbirth, and a painful one. (2003, p. 48)
“To deny the importance of subjectivity in the process of transforming the world and history is naïve and simplistic” (2003, p. 50)
Education for democracy
Reclaiming the diverse perspectives of other epistemologies through Critical Pedagogy
Faculties of education
-Relation to political ed., social justice, etc.
-Macro context (i.e., accreditation)
-Policy framework & process
-Leadership & accountability
-Pedagogical & curricular approach
-Relations with community, faculties of ed., & government
Ministries/Departments of Education
School boards / Schools
Factors influencing potential for thicker, more critical and engaged democracy in education
A FRAMEWORK TO UNDERSTAND DEMOCRACY IN EDUCATION, WHO’S INVOLVED, HOW, WHAT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED, AND WHAT THE OUTCOMES COULD BE