Pedagogy is always about power, because it cannot be separated from how subjectives are formed, desires mobilized, how some experiences are legitimized and others are not, or how some knowledge is considered acceptable while other forms are excluded from the curriculum.
School has become the world religion of a modernized proletariat, and makes futile promises of salvation to the poor of the technological age.
The teacher is of course an artist, but being an artist does not mean that he or she can make the profile, can shape the students. What an educator does in teaching is to make it possible for the students to become themselves.
The philosophic aim of education must be to get each one out of his isolated class and into the one humanity. Prudence and responsibility are not middle-class virtues but human virtues.
Education is a natural community function and occurs inevitably, since the young grow up on the old, towards their activities, and into (or against) their institutions; and the old foster, teach, train, exploit and abuse the young. Even neglect of the young, except physical neglect, has an educational effect -- not the worst possible.
Because much of the content of education is not cognitively natural, the process of mastering it may not always be easy and pleasant, notwithstanding the mantra that learning is fun. Children may be innately motivated to make friends, acquire status, hone motor skills, and explore the physical world, but they are not necessarily motivated to adapt their cognitive faculties to unnatural tasks like formal mathematics. A family, peer group, and culture that ascribe high status to school achievement may be needed to give a child the motive to persevere toward effortful feats of learning whose rewards are apparent only over the long term.
To create a community where faith matters not just in theory but in reality, faith has to be a public value, not just a private one.
From the will of a freedom-fighter, Farzad Kamangar:Is it possible to be a teacher and not show the path to the sea to the little fish of the country? Is it possible to carry the heavy burden of being a teacher and be responsible for spreading the seeds of knowledge and still be silent? Is it possible to see the lumps in the throats of the students and witness their thin and malnourished faces and keep quiet? … I cannot imagine witnessing the pain and poverty of the people of this land and fail to give our hearts to the river and the sea, to the roar and the flood.
In looking at our our individual classroom pedagogies and our isolated artistic endeavors, we must broaden the frame of analysis to consider historical, contextual and institutional assumptions. This means a constant awareness of how the micro-practices of interpersonal dialogue and embodied ways of knowing each other can provide an impetus fro structural change.
In all the works on pedagogy that ever I read — and they have been many, big, and heavy — I don't remember that any one has advocated a system of teaching by practical jokes, mostly cruel. That, however, describes the method of our great teacher, Experience.
Formal learning is like riding a bus: the driver decides where the bus is going; the passengers are along for the ride. Informal learning is like riding a bike: the rider chooses the destination, the speed, and the route.
Another Mexican American in another class, approaches Victor after class, carrying his copy of Fahrenheit 451, required reading for the course. The student doesn't understand the reference to a salon. Victor explains that this is just another word for the living room. No understanding in the student's eyes. He tries Spanish: la salon. Still nothing. The student has grown up as a migrant worker. And Victor remembers the white student who had been in his class a quarter ago, who had written about not understanding racism, that there was none where he had grown up, in Wennatchee, that he has played with the children of his father's migrant workers without there being any hostility. His father's workers. Property. Property that doesn't know of living rooms. And Victor thought of what the man from Wennatchee knew, what the ROTC Mexican American knew, what the migrant worker knew. And he thought of getting up the next morning to go with Serena to St. Mary's for cheese and butter. And he knew there was something he was not doing in his composition classrooms.
Placing the burden on the individual to break down doors in finding better education for a child is attractive to conservatives because it reaffirms their faith in individual ambition and autonomy. But to ask an individual to break down doors that we have chained and bolted in advance of his arrival is unfair.
Grandma calls it the Socratic Method. She considers it the highest pedagogical technique. I call it cornering a person. Instead of just telling you what I want you to know, I ambush you with questions. You try to escape, but you can’t. You can run whichever way you like, but in the end you’ll fall right into my trap.