Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

What I Love About the #moocmooc Blogs so Far


It’s difficult to write about critical pedagogy for many reasons, one of which is how to make writing (which seems in many cases to be didactic) represent the ideals of something very un-didactic like critical pedagogy (even Freire doesn’t necessarily manage this well, at least in Pedagogy of the Oppressed). But I’ve seen some really interesting practice in blogposts via #moocmooc critical pedagogy so far.


First, there is the aspect Freire talks about which is the pedagogue supporting learners bring their own context into the learning process, rather than banking it from the teacher’s perspective. A combination of three things has done this: I wrote a post connecting Freire to the militarization of the Egyptian state, Michael Weller wrote a blog-length comment on the US police state, and Sarah Honeychurch wrote about capitalism in the UK, and later again wrote another post on capitalism and exclusion ūüôā Adam Heidebrink-Bruno discussed Freire’s ideas in the context of modern-day US education.¬†Nick Kearney has a post where he describes a particular pedagogue he knows whom he feels embodies critical pedagogy. All of this is actually seems to be what Nick Bowskill was writing about when he talked about authentic learning in groups¬†(he calls it group-situated authenticity) – where each individual would learn authentically in a particular context, then they would get together to share and thus all have a richer experience because of it. That just happened here in #moocmooc. A contextualization of Freire’s theory to our own every day contexts. I also really like the link someone (sorry, can’t remember who?) tweeted about the similarities between Freirian ideas of teacher-as-learner and the concept of ako in Maori¬†people of New Zealand.

Then there was the post by Nick Kearney¬†critiquing the term humanization, in that the term itself dehumanizes; and some tweets critiquing the wording “libertarian” and its political connotations (though we think it’s probably just a mistranslation). Freire would not have wanted us to read his work uncritically (he talks about this more in Pedagogy of Hope). Nick writes:

I would strongly resist calling even those who have been completely processed by the banking model of education anything less than human.

And well, there is also a feeling of automation and shaping in the term “humanization”, isn’t there? These critiques have also been said of the term conscientization that Freire uses as well. The “ization” makes it seem like factory work. Almost like the teacher is shaping a piece of play-doh rather than an individual with agency. We know Freire doesn’t mean it, but the word choices (in translation, of course) appear that way.

Third, there were a couple of blogposts that I found pedagogically useful for a MOOC like this one. There’s Martin’s summary of the concept of libertarian education from Freire – when people do these summaries in MOOCs they can be really helpful to the person who is reading for the first time or has no time to read; it’s also useful for oneself to record one’s notes (gosh, just today I was going through the hard copy articles I read for my PhD and took notes on – impossible to retrieve anything if I need it urgently now; glad I later kept everything digital). And there’s Kris Shaffer’s list of¬†essential¬†education¬†readings¬†(even though I believe there’s no such “canon”, these lists can be useful if we trust the person making them, which I do in this case; except we already have similar taste esp in Hybrid Pedagogy articles; and I’ve read and do value most of them anyway) – and I promised to add a couple of my own to his list, including some of his own articles that I like but that he’s too modest to include, so I updated my “Read This” page on my blog (still needs organizing and I need to add a few more things to it)

I need to stop and take a breather before the #moocmooc chat – I am sure there have been other great posts written since I’ve had a look, so I’m looking forward to reading those…

See you at the Twitter chat at 5pm EST (unless I fall asleep, coz it’ll be midnight here and I’ve had a looong day).



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