Barakett & Cleghorn

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Curriculum and Instruction
EDEC 248
Lerona Dana Lewis

BARAKETT & CLEGHORN READING The Politics of Teaching  teachers bring common sense & taken-for-granted knowledge to school  ideology  set of beliefs & values held by a group/society usually based on interpretation of the past with prescriptions of policy for the future  Marx’s definition  belief system that legitimates the dominant group generated/controlled by owners of material production o valued since grounds ideology in material experience & observable human behaviour o problematic since implies societal ideas/beliefs deliberately manipulated in a calculated way to indoctrinate subordinate class  Weber broadens Marx’s notion to include idea that ideology & control more powerful/effective when cloaked in beliefs making them appear legitimate through education system  Gramsci’s concept of hegemony  shows how ideology originates/operates in subtle fashion as kind of preponderance of influence ; arises from ability to build social consensus by appealing to selective interpretation of past & people’s common sense assumptions about world  ideology = dynamic mechanism Teaching and Pedagogy  pedagogy: production of knowledge, identities, values  cultural politics: those in positions of power determine such matters as curriculum  view culture as way of life & form of production involving relations of power & legitimization of certain meanings/experiences Paulo Freire: Liberation through Education  primary concern  social transformation & developing an emancipator or liberatory education o can occur by focusing on educational practices, empowerment of teachers & teachers as agents of empowering students  philosophy reflects Brazil (impoverished society, huge gap between rich and poor)  aimed to develop a theory of liberation to provide basis for educational theory & practice o knowledge & people processed in schools o individuals have power to come to understanding of own situation in world (critical consciousness) o teachers & students = agents engaged in (re)constructing meaning (educational practice) o attempted to provide bases for educational theory & practice in radical sense focusing on social change & fracturing the status quo o researchers must ask questions about selection & organization of knowledge; must treat knowledge as socially constructed; explore why/how certain dominant categories of knowledge persist, how they link with certain interests/occupational groups/understand influence of elite’s traditions o need to make accepted (upper class) knowledge accessible to peasant/working classes  education = radical project for economic/political/cultural change in which power relations are transformed  pedagogy = means/process by which curriculum is communicated; essentially political Culture and Schooling  Freire  function of culture more than passing on heritage, is political o dominant culture functions to legitimize existing modes of social relations/production & to provide motivational structures that link individual needs with social needs; provides society with symbolic language for interpreting boundaries of individual & social existence  concerned with making knowledge accessible to poor/oppressed & transforming pedagogy so views of elite change  suggests new understandings can be constructed by higher classes even though perceptions different  ideology shapes perceptions of reality defined by dominant classes  pedagogical practices saturated with mechanisms to maintain position of elite  culture of silence: whatever teaching & knowledge those without control receive ensures they remain passive  Freire views consciousness as contradictory force (compose of dominant ideology + critical good sense) o constant struggle between capacity to think critically & power of hegemonic ideology o dialogue: purpose to validate voices & subjective experiences of oppressed & to expose subjective & objective nature of ideology (beliefs/practices that influence thoughts/actions) o critiquing thoughts = path towards critically conscious engaged in construction of humane world  Freire’s dialogue relates to concrete situations & lived experiences that inform daily lives; leads to recognition of own cultural capital & how it can be used to reclaim own identity  students must learn how culture functions in interest of dominant classes o examine form & content of approved texts to reveal ideologies/images/ideas o examine words/setting/images in school materials (political implications, social consequences) Concept of Dialogue  dialogue of pedagogy supposes student & teacher equal  for dialogue to be successful teachers must not impose knowledge on students in traditional manner of banking education  banking education = students empty and need to be filled with knowledge; students memorize knowledge but don’t question/analyze it  dialogical form = students mediate knowledge through common sense & own identities  exploration of subjective experiences reveals choices/actions individuals make to counter/resist forces that seek to shape/limit them Perception of Knowledge  liberation = construct own meanings, frames of reference & self determining powers through ability to understand reality  knowledge not neutral; generated from humans; political issue; used to legitimate belief/value systems  need to question processes used to constitute & legitimate knowledge & experience o transcend realms of intellectual habit & common sense o learn to highlight & make problematic knowledge presented to students o question meaning & nature of knowledge itself o knowledge must become mediator of communications & dialogue Conscientization/Critical Consciousness  conscientization: an awakening process; path towards this involves reinterpretation of what is considered to constitute knowledge; individuals exist in the world & with the world  individuals become critically conscious & act to create more humane world  differences lie in ability to decipher how societal forces enable/limit individuals o if cant, referred to as native consciousness  knowledge crucial to liberation of oppressed people  critical consciousness in school = validation of knowledge-based experiences brought to schools & simultaneous critique of school knowledge Schools as Centres of Liberating Praxis  praxis: reflection and action  schools centres of praxis where social change can occur  education rarely questions knowledge it teaches nor validates knowledge students bring  any education design has value assumptions  politics of education can be liberating & constraining  power of hegemonic ideology can be overcome in schools  schools = centres for change since there is where individuals learn they can participate in organization of society Critiques of Freire’s Work  situation specific (aimed too much at liberation of oppressed in underdeveloped nations) o doesn’t dismiss fact more developed countries also characterized by domination & oppression  idea domination is legitimized through dominant ideology which permeates all levels of society o different forms of legitimization o notion of ideology needs to develop to address legitimization & socialization process in schools in modern industrialized countries  dialogical communication needs to be developed further o can we clarify the intended & unintended consequences of the hidden curriculum through dialogical communication? o Freire assumes by battling oppression, oppressed will move towards humanization o oppressed can become oppressors o must engage in self-critique & question assumptions/practices  appears to create illusion of equality amongst the oppressed o oppressed not homogeneous group Critical Pedagogy  fundamentally concerned with understanding relationships between power & knowledge  knowledge socially constructed & deeply rooted in power relations  asks how & why knowledge gets constructed the way it does  asks how & why some constructions of reality legitimated by dominant cultures while others not  asks
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