“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 in” that 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.