Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Education is Politics -Connections

Ira Shor questions the kind of education we have versus the one we need. He states that “people are born learners. Education can either develop or stifle their inclination to ask why and to learn.”(Pg 12) Therefore, teachers should encourage students to question, and “arise children curiosity” to make them think about school and their own learning process. He wants students to be active, thoughtful, and participating in their own education with a critical attitude. This line of thinking reminds me of August’s monologicality and dialogicality theory. She defends that educators should avoid the monological practice, which is very common, that “pulls all voices to the normative socio-political center, promoting uniformity among utterances” (pg.7). Instead, teachers should strive to encourage dialogicality that promotes diversity among utterances, like Zeke, the kindergarten teacher in her research, does. In this perspective, both agree that in order to not support or mere reproduce the dominant ideology in society, the curriculum cannot be neutral- “all forms of education are political…”Karp, also defends this idea explaining that “…imposed reforms have no record of success as school improvement strategies and in fact are not educational strategies at all, but political strategies designed to bring market reform to public education.”(Pg.6)

 I also related this author to Delpit that argues, “…I do not believe that we should teach students to passively adopt an alternate code. They must be encouraged to understand the value of the code they already possess as well as to understand the power realities in this country.”(Pg. 40)This statement all along aligns with Shor’s ideas that students need to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills to understand their reality and to transform the society they live in, that is not fix, but changeable. Also, following a related though is Johnson that believes in “changing how we think so we can change how we act, and by changing how we participate in the world, become part of the complex dynamic through which the world itself will change.”(Pg. VIII). Johnson wants to change how people think about issues of difference and privilege, by talking and naming this issues, which seems the same thing that Zeke, cleverly, tries to do with his kindergarten class, in August’s article: Room for One Another. In addition, Meyer says that “…the way that teachers respond to diversity could assist educators to create more inclusive school climates” (Pg. 2).  Shor defends that education for empowerment has to be codeveloped by students, led by a critical and democratic teacher. This philosophy takes me back to what Karp says about “teachers being the key to implementing the changes….and finding ways to promote a kind of collaborative partnership…” (Pg 6)
 Shor seems to answer Colier’s question: “How do we prepare students to face this complicated world we have created and yet allow them to retain their love for learning?” by  suggesting to listening to students to learn about key issues in the community, dialoguing on these themes and figuring out ways to act on problems discussed and build critical curricula: posing problems rather than giving answers through a participatory process: “ to discover the limits and resources for changing self and society”(pg.51)
 Empowering Education


  1. Nice blog! You did a great job making lots of connections!

  2. Oh SNAP! You did an AWESOME job connecting most all the authors! BTW I have carrots, hummus and watermelon for tomorrow

  3. Amazing connections, Marcia!! :)