Tag Archives: dialectial thinking

On Peter McLaren`s `Critical Pedagogy: A Look at the Major Concepts`

After reading McLaren`s article I had many interesting conversations with colleagues at the educational facility where I work. There are so many important concepts that McLaren discusses that it was difficult to choose which ones I wanted to focus on at this moment in time. So I chose to first find my place in this system. Education as a Service Industry: What type of industry do I work in? I find that education is a service industry and that we, as educators, provide complex educational services and not a product. Teachers are service providers however they may forget that from time to time and tend to blame educational challenges on curriculum or the system. I hear often complaints as to why other elements keep them (the educators) from succeeding. Parents must also be served in the private education sector, which adds to the challenges when educators cannot communicate well, or sell the value of education. On page 77 McLaren sites Kemmis and Fitzclarence and Giroux in reference to social reproduction and the exploration of “how schools perpetuate or reproduce the social relationships and attitudes needed to sustain the existing dominant economic and class relations of the larger society” and quite frankly private schooling does that. The parents are usually coming from middle-upper to upper class and pay for their children to maintain or improve this ranking. This is often a topic brought up by the parents when they question what we do and how we do it and ask if it will achieve and sustain what they want. The question is will it? Should it? Is it bad or evil to support this? Why shouldn’t parents want this and why should or shouldn’t we provide this service? To answer these questions appropriately I would need to do much more research than the timeframe to finish this assignment does allow. Depth and Breadth of Our Services: What is the depth and breadth our educational industry? The breadth of students to which our school provides services for is quite narrow. We are a private school where people must be able to afford our educational services. In that sense we appear to support class separation and it is a form of hegemony - unspoken. We do not provide educational services for all types of people, including those with learning challenges. Our depth of service however is greater than public school as we provide individual educational plans for each student, including working at their individual pace and in the way they need to learn in a very dialectical style using emancipatory methods, at least in art class. Occasionally we have educators who teach with a dictatorship style, more of a militant method. Due to the culture of our school, they usually do not stay long. Also on page 77 McLaren sites Stanley Aronowitz describing “… one aspect of empowerment as “The process of appreciating and loving oneself;” empowerment is gained from knowledge and social relations that dignify one’s own history, language and cultural traditions.”” Going back to the service provider, the teacher, I have experienced that they must first have this themselves before they can teach in this way. How many teachers can one experience that appear emancipated themselves? Based upon my own experience I can say not many. How can society change this and how can we create teachers with these skills to be able to teach our children these skills? As a teacher one has to ask oneself the question: am I willing to let domination go? Our School Culture: Our school is filled with students from all over the world and only some of them are Swiss. Culture and social issues are a major topic for us and never overlooked as it creates issues quickly. We have many different languages in our school; including their underlying social customs. Most teachers are not Swiss and many different individual histories come together. The Swiss culture is different from anywhere I have taught. The Swiss teach naturally at home to discuss and to question. One of their most important unwritten laws is that you always protect that which is weaker than yourself. The Swiss system does not suffer as bad as the American school system but they can improve in many ways, one being to learn to adapt and be more innovative. Mr. Nicolas Hayek saved the watch industry by doing something other Swiss would not do; change. Conclusion: In conclusion there are many topics I would like to delve into from the concept of truth to more on self-empowerment however much more research and time is needed for these topics. I think it important that teachers are aware and are life-long learners in order to improve their world. In applying the new information to our last topic (see blog from January on Baldacchino`s Unlearning: (A Decision to [Let Go]) I believe we must not forget for we need the experience to learn and change and create new knowledge but we can let go of that which is negative to our well being as individuals and as societies. References: Darder, A., Baltodano, M.P., and Torres, R. D.. (2009). The Critical Pedagogy Reader. New York: Routledge Hayek, N.G.. (2005). “Nicolas G. Hayek, Im Gespräch Mit Friedemann Bartu Ansichten Enines Vollblu-Unternehmers. Zürich: F. Bartu/N.G. Hayek and Verlag Neue Zürcher Zeitung McLaren, Peter (2009). 'Critical Pedagogy: A Look at the Major Concepts` in The Critical Pedagogy Reader by Darder, A., Baltodano, M. and Torres, R. (eds.) (2009) New York: Routledge.