Image courtesy of sacks08
It was my first year of college and I was anxious to find out who my dorm roommate was going to be that year. I had been in this dorm in a previous year for high school (I attended a boarding school on the same campus), so I felt like I was in my element. That was when Greg* walked in. He was big. Really big. It turns out he was a weightlifter and even though he was wearing a fairly puffy jacket on this cool fall afternoon, I could tell he would be able to snap me in half if he really wanted to. I just hoped he didn’t want to.
It turned out that Greg was a big softy. While he was dedicated to his weight training, he was a pacifist and as kind as he was muscular. He kept his side of the room in immaculate condition and kept a rigid schedule of going to bed early so he could get up early to work out, doing his homework before going out, and reading a book in the evening. I could set my watch to him; he was that dependable.
I, on the other hand, was having too much fun to worry about such trivial things as studying, cleaning, and exercising regularly. Actually, I was pretty much the opposite of Greg. While he was studying, I was out with friends avoiding my work. While he was working out, I was sleeping. When he was reading, I was playing games on the computer and cranking my music much too loudly.
I liked Greg. Something about him intrigued me and made me feel a bit guilty about my attitude towards work and exercise. Continue reading Forgiving
Image courtesy of Nick Page
Have you ever had one of those days where a certain topic keeps coming up over and over again in completely different situations? Yesterday was like that for me. The completely random topic? Critical pedagogy. Not sure why, but I’m not complaining. This is a topic that I have really started to sink my teeth into, even if I am still working out all that it encompasses and how it plays out in my language classroom.
For those not entirely sure about what critical pedagogy is, here is a really, really simplified (perhaps oversimplified?) version. In the beginning, there was Paulo Freire, a philosopher and educator from Brazil who wrote this amazing, albeit somewhat dense, book Pedagogy of the Oppressed. By the sounds of the title, I am sure you can probably start to guess where this is going. Freire believed that education should allow those who find themselves oppressed and cut off politically to gain a voice and be given the tools and space to transform their situation. Freire also fought against the traditional dispensing of knowledge by the teacher, instead giving the students the means to direct and create their own learning especially through social interaction. Basically, critical pedagogy levels the playing field by stripping away the hierarchical structure so prevalent in education. Students take what they learn in the classroom and transform their world outside of the classroom. There is so much more than that, so if you would like to understand it better, go here.
Okay, before anyone starts blasting me for missing important components of critical pedagogy, the purpose of this post isn’t to be a treatise on all things critical, but I simply want to provide a foundation to explain what I have been thinking about. In this case, three different things arose from the conversations and texts I read. Continue reading Changing