Do I write to transform the world or to transform myself? If I am transforming myself, am I transforming my world? Is this how writing is beneficial?
0153: Teaching for Change? #Revolution?
#education #SOSchat #occupyedu #OWS
The concept of teaching for revolution extends far beyond the classroom. Yes, teachers teach for change. We want the learners in our care to leave with skills and understandings that will enable them to succeed. We want to provide the opportunity to access keys to a better future. But what is a better future? Is it simply graduating, going to college, getting a good job? Is it enlightenment? Is it power? What? If we are preparing our students to be consumers alone then we are doing them a monumental injustice. It’s possible to view success as access to products and services. But, could success be viewed as a transfer of power from one entity to another? A shift in the status quo? An outright overthrow or disruption? An equalization of powers? I think we should seek to answer these questions. Certainly, teaching for social justice has a root or two in the understanding that there is an imbalance of power. People, the People, must always push against authority when it becomes oppressive, suppressive, and flat out greedy. I don’t believe education as a whole will go the way of this form of teaching, but it has it’s place among the people who are blindly crushed beneath the heel of a leviathan. If you see injustice, if you know it as constant force in our day to day existence, help us gather and continue sharing ways we prepare our learners for success.
0150: On Beating a Dead Horse
#education #edreform #race #equality #class #SOSchat
So often the proverbial horses we beat are not all dead to all people. Equally, some of the windmills we fight are not windmills at all; some of them really are raging giants. I submit, the monster, the giant, the pulse of the horse is to be determined by those nearest to them. If you’ve beat your horse completely to death or conquer your windmill, congratulations. Move onto the next one or help me conquer mine.
0127: Can We Build a Grassroots Movement with enough Power to Really Change #Education?
Something drastic needs to be done to alter the course of public education. It has become a testocracy. Curriculums have been molded to dictate that instruction revolves around test prep, rather than best practices in education. The culture of education, teaching, and learning have changed drastically as a result of the testing industry. Regardless of the industries intentions, money is being wasted on testing. Millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars have been and are being poured into this industry and related products and services. Many are being crushed under the weight. Ultimately, a generation has received an inappropriate and lacking education. How can we fix this?
I’d like to propose a grassroots movement and organization designed to educate and empower teachers, administrators, and the public about the disastrous effects of the propagation of this education debacle. Perhaps the organization could be called the Center for Teacher Empowerment, or maybe the National Organization for Teacher Empowerment (NOTE). The group/movement will work to empower education professionals to create and implement change in classrooms, schools, districts and in state and national politics. The goal will be to empower educator-activists and support them as they enable education communities to create sustainable change from within. Simultaneously, the group/movement will need to acquire and develop a powerful political voice that can influence and dictate policy change. Additionally, attention needs to be granted to changing public opinion about educators and education. The public needs to be educated. Propaganda needs to be countered.
National Organization for Teacher Empowerment (NOTE)
1. Empower and educate education-activists to implement and organize sustainable change within their immediate area (classroom, building, district).
2. Build a diverse and powerful grassroots network of educators, parents, communities dedicated to proper educational change.
3. Develop an influential political voice on local, state, and national level.
4. Correct public opinion of educators. Counter negative, show positive, and progressive.
5. Build support
It is important that we talk about making reflective and powerful change. Inaction and silence are not an option. We must carefully build support and take great care not to alienate supporters. I’d like this to be an open conversation. Is something of this magnitude doable? Help me define some goals, tactics, and options. Let’s look at what exists. Let’s join forces. Let’s continue working.
The radical…[has] the duty, imposed by love itself, to react against the violence of those who try to silence him—of those who, in the name of freedom, kill his freedom and their own. Paulo Freire from Education for Critical Consciousness
0094: Dear Teachers, Activists, Revolutionaries, and Newly Awakened
#revolution #Egypt #Syria #OO #anonymous
If we are to be revolutionaries, and we are to be revolutionaries for these are revolutionary times, then we must surrender ourselves to the danger of personal transformation. We must submit to the cold truth that there is nothing but tomorrow, and tomorrow can only be as beautiful as we, the stakeholders, the activists, the revolutionaries, the teachers, the poets, the seekers make it. By submitting our pens and voices and bodies to the transformation of the perverse world we are claiming that we see in this mess a Beauty and Truth that cannot be extinguished by greed or hate or oppression. We see the pain in the eyes of our neighbor, we see the dullness in the eyes of drugged and drudges school children, we see the furrowing of our own brows when we stare into the mirror, and we know that we can no longer bear the torment, nor can we allow the torment to bear down on any other soul. We are for the first time in years walking toward one another rather than away. We are now beginning to awaken, and we must continue to waken our slumbering counterparts. Bless you brothers and sisters. We stand in solidarity for the future and the present of humanity.
Prayers for those who struggle everywhere, and action as well.
0085: Unpacking the phrase “education is your ticket out of poverty.”
#teaching #revolution #literacy #education
I heard the phrase “education is your ticket out of (insert situation)” used by teachers, principals, parents, counselors, etc., etc. I’ve used it. I think it is often spouted thoughtlessly in the attempt to focus students on the task we choose for them. It positions education as a panacea and me, the educator as the distributor of that all important cure. This phrase, when used like this, turns into a tool of oppression, forcing students to focus on the falsehood that I, the teacher, have something that they need, and will withhold it until they bend to my will. This statement asks for non-critical compliance. By saying, “education is your ticket out”, it is implied first that the learner is already in an undesirable situation. Judgment is passed, the learner is told that he or she is inferior and needs a way out, the way which is provided by the educator or the education system. Second, the statement implies that the alternative is better. By leaving one class of people, the family, friends, and neighborhood the recipient of education will suddenly better off. They will then be the haves, having left the have-nots behind. This language does not encourage transformation; rather, it encourages blind abandonment. It serves to turn the underclass and the oppressed into oppressors themselves. Additionally, it positions teachers or the education system itself as the catalyst for change or even as savior. As long as the oppressed believe they require a savior they will always be oppressed. Transformation must be the aim of education, not forced dependence.
I do not mean to say that education is not a tool for transformation or even transcendence. It is. Unfortunately, it is often poised as a means to “leave those poor people behind”. As long as education is just a ticket out then there will be no transformation of the rapidly growing underclass in our country. Education should benefit the community not just the individual. As teachers, we must be cognizant of our language. We must do our best to empower learners and communities to do what’s best for them. If that means leaving, so be it. If it means uniting to become better educated, and to reduce crime, and build their own economy, then let it be. As long as teachers function as missionaries who drop in, feed the ailing and runaway, then there will be no change. True education is not a ticket out, it is a tool for transformation.
#revolution #education #occupy
All is lost, in spite of glittering appearances, if objects or social structures are formally altered but human subjects are left powerless as before. Denis Goulet’s Introduction to Paulo Freire’s Education for Critical Consciousness