“All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall…”

So, we all have visions of The Ideal School in our heads, but we are also aware of the fact that the school systems in which we were taught we not ideal (though for a lucky few of you, they came quite close). We have also been thinking about how we as teachers can push back against the forces that make schools less-than-ideal, especially the systemic ones, like standardization, lack of attention to students, an a general trend of “phoning it inthat completely mystifies me. In that vein, we split up the class into smaller groups and tried to boil down our ideas of what critical pedagogy meant into the simplest possible form. My group came up with this graphic: the bridge serves a callout to Milad, the civil engineer of the group as well as mimicking the appearance of a pyramid, which is how we view the terms listed below (curiosity leads to radical openness, which leads to questioning, which leads to dynamic knowledge-seeking, and so on).

The color gradient is a nice aesthetic touch, but it also serves as a way to draw the eye upward, which is the whole point. The children at the bottom represent us and the hope that we maintain the same curiosity and thirst for knowledge that we had as children. Some of the children are holding signs with pictures, which represent the disciplines of each member of the group, from right to left: History (that one’s Heath), Civil Engineering (we just really like Milad a lot), Creative Technologies (that’s mine), Communications, Chemistry (that’s Kristen’s–we wouldn’t have the adorable children without her photoshopping them in), and paleontology (that’s Dana). I think this is an excellent way to think about critical pedagogy, and more importantly, its’ easy to remember and understand, and I believe that makes it more likely to show up in our teaching practice, which is a wonderful thing.

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11 thoughts on “Week 9: “We don’t need no education.”

  1. I loved the creative elements in this post! I liked how you tied everyone together and expressed the interest and excitement of the children you are instructing!

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  2. As a visual learner, I really enjoyed your team’s graphic. I love how the more you look at it, the more themes you are able to connect with the art. I particularly liked your team’s use of children in order to signify how we should always have a child-like curiosity and appetite for learning. Thanks!

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  3. Great post — love the title! I really like the graphic your group came up with! The emphasis on “radical openness” and “curiosity” really struck me. My group did not explicitly talk about those components of critical pedagogy, but I love them! It is so refreshing to think about how we could help our students become life-long learners through curiosity and, well, just darn good people, via a commitment to fighting oppression and cultivating “radical openness.” Awesome work, y’all!

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  4. Me thinks the smoke in the background is from the last tinders of oppression burning !
    I really like this creation and it was great to see you all working together to make it 🙂

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  5. Nice graphic and good job including all of the disciplines in your group. I liked your opening statement about how we are aware that we were not taught in the ideal system. Although, we can look back now an identify that some aspects could have been done better it’s good have gotten to have that perspective to provide that change for future generations.

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  6. “The children at the bottom represent us and the hope that we maintain the same curiosity and thirst for knowledge that we had as children.” Cant begin to describe how important this little tidbit was for me. At times, both in teaching and as a student, I tend to get caught in the cyclical pattern of things and forget to be the curious engine that I once was, so this was a great reminder personally. This image did a great job tapping into what truly matters in critical pedagogy, but also in every facet of life. Great stuff!

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  7. I had so much fun studying your group’s artifact. The image felt personal, creative and thought provoking. The image of you all as children with your associated disciplines also represents to me the story we each bring to the classroom. Our experiences and perspectives are so valuable to the learning process and I think you all represented this well. As I looked at each picture and then the question marks, I thought about the other disciplines in our class and the rich diversity this brings to the learning experience. I can relate to the words you all used to describe critical pedagogy and personally really like “radical openness”.

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  8. What a cool graphic! The thing that stands out to me is all of the question marks. In critical pedagogy, I think one of the pillars is to both allow students to question and to question students. There should be a constant dialogue that allows all learners to grow.

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