19 April

The Best of Both Worlds: A Critical Pedagogy of Place


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18 April


This is a 'think' piece, a conceptual paper, in which I ask questions about the construct of 'voice' and the assumptions of 'self' within it, and about the conditions of its production and reception. I suggest that some new ways of thinking about 'voice' as dialogic and discursive can be useful.

The construct of voice has had a varied and sometimes high profile career in a wide range of fields, and has become loaded with highly charged and often unexamined assumptions. 'Voice' is the hero in stories that champion research subjects to speak for themselves, empower students to find their voices, and encourage the expression of one's 'authentic voice' in writing. Often conflated with the personal or with the self, 'voice' seems to stand in for an authenticity of experience; in this view, finding and expressing one's 'own voice' become important tasks.(1) Issues of power, agency, and views of 'self' assumed in uses of 'voice' have been analyzed by feminist and poststructural theorists (Britzman, 1989; Grumet, 1990; Ellsworth, 1992; Orner,1992; Finke, 1993; Otte, 1995; Kramer-Dahl, 1996; Lensmire, 1998), some of whom suggest alternative ways to think about 'voice' and the constellation of issues that circulate around it.

The use of 'voice' as self-expression assumes a stable, already existing, coherent 'self' that can be expressed through language, rather than a contingent subjectivity constituted in language. How might we conceptualize 'voice' in a way that takes into consideration poststructural understandings of language and subjectivity? What relations of power/knowledge are reiterated in calls for 'voice'?

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Higher Education in a Time of Crisis: Rethinking the Politics and Possibilities of Critical Pedagogy

Henry Giroux
Interview by Chronis Polychroniou

You are one of the world’s major theorists on critical pedagogy. Would you define the term and elaborate on its use?

Critical pedagogy refers to a set of particular theoretical principles that embrace the primacy of the political and the ethical as a central feature of educational theory and practice. In opposition to the conservative view that pedagogy is simply a set of strategies, methodologies, and skills to use in order to teach prespecified subject matter, critical pedagogy is defined as a moral and political practice that represents a deliberate attempt on the part of educators to influence how and what knowledge, values, and subjectivies are produced within particular sets of social relations. Pedagogy is understood in this context as political and moral practice that treats education as a project related to the ongoing struggle over an inclusive and substantive democracy. Critical pedagogy attempts to understand and engage schools as places where culture, power, knowledge, and experience come together to produce particular identities, narratives, and social practices that always presuppose a vision of the future. The critical question here, of course, is whose future, story, and interests does the public school, higher education, or any other educational site represent? Critical pedagogy argues that school practices should be informed by a public philosophy that addresses how to construct ideological and institutional conditions in which the lived experience of empowerment for the vast majority of students becomes the defining feature of education. In part, this suggest providing the conditions for students to engage in unlimited questioning and sustained dialogue so that teachers and students can experience themselves as critical agents and learn how to oppose dogmatic forms of education which not only limit critical thinking, but also close down the capacity for self-determination, agency, self-representation, and effective democracy. By viewing the classroom as a space of dialogue, critique, and translation, critical pedagogy offers educators a new language for enabling teachers and students come to terms with their own power as individual agents and critical citizens. Students, in particular through this approach, are taught about the relationship between knowledge and the power of self-definition, and what it means to use knowledge not only to understand the world, but to be able to influence those who are in power and help to mobilize those who are not. More specifically, critical pedagogy attempts: to reclaim those forms of knowledge that not only provide the range of capacities necessary for young people to function in an empowering way in every sphere of society, but also to create new forms of knowledge that engage the new modes of literacy necessary to understand, critically engaging, and transforming the changing conditions under which people experience their lives, especially with regard to the new media.

Central here is the assumption that young people should be educated to not only have the skills necessary to be workers, policy makers, intellectuals, and other social roles, but also to be both cultural producers and critical intellectuals capable of producing and not merely carrying out particular types of social practices, roles, and forms of creative production. Critical pedagogy also places an emphasis on breaking down disciplines and creating interdisciplinary knowledge, especially knowledge that provides new ways to raise questions and enhance our role as individual and social agents in a global world; it also raises questions about the relationships between the margins and centers of power in schools and is concerned about how to provide a way of reading history as part of a larger project of reclaiming power and identity, particularly as these are shaped around the categories of race, gender, class, and ethnicity; critical pedagogy is also attentive to the context in which learning takes place and is concerned about making curriculum knowledge responsive to the everyday knowledge that constitutes peoples’ lived histories differently. Finally, critical pedagogy illuminates the primacy of the ethical and the political in defining the language that teachers and others use to produce particular cultural practices, especially as these link the challenge of providing the conditions of individual and social agency with the expanding and deepening of democratic public life.


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Critical Pedagogy and the 21st century

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Indigenous Knowledges in Education: Complexities, Dangers, and Profound Benefits

Since the time that I (Joe Kincheloe) published What Is Indigenous Knowledge? Voices from the Academy in 1999, I have had an opportunity to speak to a variety of audiences about the topic around North America and the world. Of course, many individuals from diverse backgrounds are profoundly informed about the topic and have provided me with a wide variety of insights to my efforts to better understand and engage the issue of indigenous knowledge in the academy. At the same time numerous individuals engaged in research and education—especially from dominant cultural backgrounds—continue to dismiss the importance of indigenous knowledge in academic work and pedagogy. In the last half of the first decade of the twenty-first century in an era of an expanding U.S. empire replete with mutating forms of political, economic, military, educational, and epistemological colonialism, indigenous knowledge comes to be viewed by the agents of empire as a threat to Euro/Americentrism and/or as a commodity to be exploited.


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"Critical Ontology: Visions of selfhood and curriculum "

From: Critical ontology: Visions of selfhood and curriculum (2003). JCT: Journal of Curriculum Theorizing. 19, 1, pp. 47-64.


There is nothing profound about asserting that the ways one teaches and the curricular purposes one pursues are tied to the ways teachers see themselves. Yet the ways teachers come to see themselves as professionals and learners--in particular the ways they conceptualize what they need to learn, where they need to learn it, and how the process should take place--shape their teacher persona (CPRE, 1995). Such a persona cannot be separated from the various forms of knowledge produced in the culture at large, in academic curricula and in the larger notion of “professional awareness.” Too infrequently are teachers in university, student teaching, or in-service professional education encouraged to confront why they think as they do about themselves as teachers—especially in relationship to the social, cultural, political, economic, and historical world around them. Mainstream teacher education provides little insight into the forces that shape identity and consciousness. Becoming educated, becoming a critical teacher as researcher/teacher as scholar necessitates personal transformation based on an understanding and critique of these forces. This article explores these dynamics and in the process develops a notion of critical ontology for teachers. Such a concept explores self-production for the purpose of conceptualizing new, more just, and more complex ways of being human.

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Critical Ontology and Indigenous Ways of Being: Forging a Postcolonial Curriculum

Mainstream teacher education provides little insight into the forces that shape teacher identity and consciousness. Becoming educated, becoming a postcolonial teacher-scholar-researcher necessitates personal transformation based on an understanding and critique of these forces. In this context this chapter develops a notion of critical ontology (ontology is the branch of philosophy that studies what it means to be in the world, to be human) and its relationship to being a teacher in light of indigenous knowledges and ontologies. As teachers from the dominant culture explore issues of indigeneity, they highlight both their differences with cultural others and the social construction of their own subjectivities. In this context they come to understand themselves, the ways they develop curriculum, and their pedagogy in a postcolonial world. Such issues become even more important at a time where new forms of economic, political, and military colonialism are reshaping both colonizing and colonized societies. This chapter makes three basic points:

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Critical Pedagogy Videos

Henry Giroux, Nita Friere, Peter McLaren

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Radical Pedagogy Journal

Radical Pedagogy is a peer reviewed, academic journal that is devoted to the examination of the evolving state of teaching and learning in contemporary academia. Articles are published on a per-issue basis with regular volume numbers and authors are invited to submit their work at any time throughout the year. All submissions will be peer reviewed in a timely and critical (but constructive) manner. The submission of articles implies a commitment on the part of the author to publish in this journal. Thus, authors who submit articles to this journal should not simultaneously submit their manuscripts to other journals.

Articles can be sent directly over the Internet as attachments to email messages (preferably as MSWord documents, although other formats are acceptable as well), or mailed on a 3 1/2 inch disk to the Editor. Articles should be double-spaced and employ a 12 point font throughout--including quotations, references and notes. Each article should be accompanied by a title page that includes: all authors' names, institutional affiliations, addresses, telephone numbers and (if applicable) e-mail addresses. There are no stringent limitations upon the length of submissions. As a general framework, articles should be between 4,000-10,000 words, however, longer and shorter works will also be considered.

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Storming the Citadel: Reading Theory Critically

The final lens through which we can view our practice is the lens of theory. Although this book argues strongly for the importance of learning from experience, this doesn't mean that formal educational literature is, by definition, irrelevant. Far from it. If I believed this I would have wasted a good part of my own life writing words that meant nothing. Educational literature can help us investigate the hunches, instincts and tacit knowledge that shape our practice. It can suggest different possibilities for practice, as well as helping us understand better what we already do and think. In this chapter I want to examine how reading educational theory, philosophy and research can provide new and provocative ways of seeing ourselves and our practice.

Before examining the contribution of theory, I want to say a few words about the unsound and unworkable distinction often made between 'theorists' and 'practitioners'. The musings of educational theorists are often contrasted with the practicalities of teaching. Theory and practice are viewed as existing on either side of a great, and unbridgeable, divide. I believe that this theory-practice dichotomy is a nonsense. Making this distinction is epistemologically and practically untenable. Like it or not, we are all theorists and all practitioners. Our practice is theoretically informed by our implicit and informal theories about the processes and relationships of teaching. Our theories are grounded in the epistemological and practical tangles and contradictions we seek to explain and resolve. The educational theory that appears in books and journals might be a more codified, abstracted way of thinking about universal processes, but it is not different in kind from the understandings embedded in our own local decisions and actions. As Usher (1989) suggests, formal theory serves as "a kind of resource and sounding board for the development and refinement of informal theory - a way of bringing critical analysis to bear on the latter" (p. 88).

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Tied Knowledge: Power in Higher Education

Tied Knowledge is a book designed to provide a practical conceptual framework for understanding the dynamics of higher education. Using examples primarily from Australia, Britain and the United States, it examines power structures both outside and inside academia and how they interact and shape knowledge. These structures include hierarchy, disciplines, patriarchy, the state, capitalism and professions. Academia as a system of power itself both resists and accommodates these other power systems. The key resource used by the academics to promote their interests is the power to create and legitimate knowledge. By its form and content, this knowledge is tied to both the interests of academics and to those of powerful groups in society.

The book is neither pro nor anti-academia. Instead, it focusses on the structural factors shaping academic behaviour so that initiatives can strengthen and broaden the positive features of academia while trying to overcome the negative features. A key portion of the book is an examination and assessment of the main strategies that have been used to reform or challenge the nature and uses of academic power.

HTML: http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/bmartin/pubs/98tk/index.html

Full book in pdf: http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/bmartin/pubs/98tk/tiedknowledge.pdf
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