Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

3 Articles That Changed My Life – in different ways

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The 3 articles I will mention here each changed my life in different ways.

The first, Ellsworth’s Why Doesn’t This Feel Empowering gave me a new perspective on critcal pedagogy: helped me understand why I was struggling with the theory and helped me work on applying it in my classroom; I also comsider that article my best introduction to poststructuralism because it shows by detailed contextualization how one can do it. I love how it embraces the complexity and irreconcilability of that complexity in looking at a real classroom in a real world. I love how it challenges critical pedagogy from a poststructural perspective even while striving for the ideals of social justice and challenging the status quo. This article has influenced my research, my practice, and my teaching in innumerable ways, always in the background.

The second is the introduction to curriculum theory on the infed website. Curriculum theory in general was a great influence on me, a recommedned direction by my supervisor in the last few years od my PhD (it was a whopping 7 years with a couple of leaves). The article led me to read many wonderful curriculum theorists such as Stenhouse, Grundy and Cornbleth. But the article itself is awesome because it summarizes and compares different approaches to curriculum SO WELL AND SO CLEARLY for a novice. The distinctions between curriculum as content, product, process and emancipation are so well explained here, and they show why people/educators from different paradigms sometimes cannot even communicate about pedagogy and curriculum. It shows why critiquing curriculum from a “critical” perspective is difficult to explain to someone who’s designing curriculum from a product/technical perspective. It gave me a framework to use in analyzing my data for my thesis, and terminology to use ot decribe my approach to tesching that did not comply with the whole learning outcomes aligned to asessment paradigm. 

The third is Beyond Rigor by my (now) good friends at HybridPed: Sean, Pete and Jesse. It gave me a way to explain  a lot of what I felt was wrong with orthodox approaches to education, and ideas to think of how to move forward, how to challenge the status quo by asking different questions and accepting different modes of expression.
So the three are different: one gave me a new perspective, the other helped me put my thinking into a new framework, and the third gave me vocabulary and actionability on previous thinking. All three have influenced my research, teaching, and thinking. And still do today.

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