Liberation Praxis in Schools:
Teaching for Social Justice
By Paul C. Gorski
White Privilege Conference
April 2008
1
Introduction: Warm-Up
The Awareness Quiz
2
Intro: Who We Are
1.
2.
Who is in the room?
My background and lenses
3
Intro: Agenda
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Introductory Blabber (in progress)
Starting Assumptions
Approaches to Social Justice
Education
Key Concepts
Pitfalls: The Withering Away of
Critical Liberation Praxis
4
Intro: Agenda Cont’d
6. Dimensions of Praxis in Schools
7. Social Justice Education in Practice
8. Shifts of Consciousness for the Critical
Practitioner
5
Introduction: Primary
Arguments
1.
2.
3.
Social justice education starts with
creating equitable learning
environments for all students
SJE also includes preparing students
for the struggle
Critical liberation praxis involves shifts
of consciousness that inform shifts in
practice
6
Introduction: Primary
Arguments
4. Much of the work we call “SJE” creates
more inequity than it eliminates
5. There is something we can do about it
7
Introduction:
Warning!!!
I do not have any of the following:
 “The” SJE formula or workbook,
 A tidy set of activities for you to
implement in your classroom
tomorrow, or
 A single book or poster or video that
will make any school “just.”
8
Introduction:
However…
I do have all of the following:
 A framework for thinking complexly
and critically about praxis and SJE,
 Strategies for creating just learning
environments based on your curricular
and pedagogical expertise, and
 Some difficult, sometimes even
uncomfortable, questions about what
is and what could be in education.
9
Starting Assumptions
10
Starting Assumption #1
□ All students deserve the best possible
education regardless of:
□ Socioeconomic status or class
□ Gender Identity
□ Religion (or lack thereof)
□ Citizenship status
□ (Dis)ability
□ Race or ethnicity
□ Sexual Orientation
□ Etc.
11
Starting Assumption #2
□ Critical liberation praxis requires more
than simply diversifying curricula; it
requires the transformation of
□ Pedagogy
□ Assessment
□ Classroom/School Climate
□ National Social and Educational Policy
□ Etc.
12
Starting Assumption #3
□ Education is NOT politically neutral
□ And political neutrality is the same thing is
supporting the status quo
□ First step for all of us: understand the
politics in play (that’s the “critical”) and
what they mean for us and our students.
13
Starting Assumption #4
□ The problem of educational inequity is
one of consciousness, not only one of
practice
□Impossibility of being a critical
liberation practitioner if I do not think
in critical, liberatory ways
14
Starting Assumption #5
□ The “achievement gap” is not as
much an “achievement gap” as an
“opportunity gap”
15
Starting Assumption #6
□ A single teacher or administrator
cannot undo systemic inequities in the
entire school system or larger society.
□But at the very least we can make
sure we’re not replicating those
inequities in our own spheres of
influence
16
Starting Assumption #7
□ Education is a microcosm of bigger
social conditions, and those conditions
are increasingly neoliberal
□Welfare “reform”
□Globalization (of poverty)
□Concentration of media ownership
□What else?
17
Starting Assumption #8
□ These conditions increasingly are
embedded in education policy and
practice
□Corporatization and privatization of
public schools
□NCLB and the Business Roundtable
□“Choice” and vouchers
□Prescribed curricula
□What else?
18
Starting Assumption #9
□ Gross inequities exist in our schools
□And these inequities, and the
resulting opportunity gap, will not be
eliminated by Taco Night, the
International Fair, or other activities
that, however fun, do not address
injustices head-on
19
Starting Assumption #9:
Gross Inequities
Compared with low-poverty U.S.
schools, high-poverty U.S. schools
have:
□ More teachers teaching in areas
outside their certification subjects;
□ More serious teacher turnover
problems;
□ More teacher vacancies;
□ Larger numbers of substitute teachers;
20
Starting Assumption #9:
Gross Inequities (cont’d)
□ More dirty or inoperative bathrooms;
□ More evidence of vermin such as
cockroaches and rats;
□ Insufficient classroom materials
□ Less rigorous curricula;
□ Fewer experienced teachers;
□ Lower teacher salaries;
□ Larger class sizes; and
□ Less funding.
21
Starting Assumption #9:
Gross Inequities
Barton, P.E. (2004). Why does the gap persist?
Educational Leadership 62(3), 8-13.
Barton, P.E. (2003). Parsing the achievement gap:
Baselines for tracking progress. Princeton, NJ:
Educational Testing Service.
Carey, K. (2005). The funding gap 2004: Many
states still shortchange low-income and
minority students. Washington, D.C.: The
Education Trust.
National Commission on Teaching and America’s
Future (2004). Fifty years after Brown Board of
Education: A two-tiered education system.
Washington, D.C.: Author.
22
Conceptualizing
Authentic SJE
23
Conceptualizing
Authentic SJE
Important Concepts
• Hegemony
• The Hidden Curriculum
• Deficit Theory
• Neoliberalism
24
Conceptualizing
Authentic SJE
Important Concept #1
Hegemony
• What is it?
• Where do we see it?
– White supremacy, Christian-centrism,
consumer culture, hetero-normativity –
connections among these
25
Conceptualizing
Authentic SJE
Important Concept #2
The Hidden Curriculum
• What is it?
• Relationship with hegemony
– Three curricula: Official, Explicit,
Hidden
26
Conceptualizing
Authentic SJE
Important Concept #3
Deficit Theory
• What is it?
• Example: Hurricane Katrina
• Relationship with hegemony
27
Conceptualizing
Authentic SJE
Important Concept #4
Neoliberalism
• What is it? (see handout)
• Where do we see it in schools?
• Relationship with hegemony
28
Conceptualizing
Authentic SJE
Approaches to SJE
1. Heroes and Holidays
2. Intercultural Education
3. Human Relations Education
4. Reactive Equity Programming
5. Systemic Equity
a. Where is your school or department?
29
Conceptualizing
Authentic SJE
Approach: Heroes and Holidays
• Celebrating diversity
• Surface-level cultural exploration
• Additive; tokenistic
• Examples?
30
Conceptualizing
Authentic SJE
Approach: Intercultural Education
• Learning about “other” cultures
• Essentializing (“culture of poverty”)
• Focus on tolerance and appreciate
of difference
• Examples?
31
Conceptualizing
Authentic SJE
Approach: Human Relations
• Intergroup/intercultural dialogue
• Sharing our personal stories
• Anti-bias focus
• Interpersonal, missing bigger issues
• Examples?
32
Conceptualizing
Authentic SJE
Approach: Reactive Programming
• Connections with bigger issues
–
•
•
But reactive, not proactive
Program-based, not
transformational
Examples?
33
Conceptualizing
Authentic SJE
Approach: Critical Liberation
• Understand education in larger
sociopolitical context
• Focus on system equity and social
justice – consciousness informs
practice
• Examples?
34
PITFALLS:
Withering of SJE, or
Un-Critical Liberatory Praxis
35
Withering SJE:
Changing Hearts, Not Systems
 Focus exclusively on changing hearts and
minds while ignoring systemic issues (this
is the un-critical praxis)
 How does this approach—anti-bias, tolerance,
etc.—serve hegemony? Who does it serve and
who does it protect?
 Examples: anti-bias workshops, cultural
plunges, etc.
36
Withering SJE:
Equity Issues—Cultural Solutions
 Trying to address injustices, such as
racial or class inequity, with cultural
programming, such as multicultural
festivals or learning about the “culture of
poverty”
 Who or what does this approach protect?
37
Withering SJE:
Whitening of Education Activism
 Candy-coating the discourse to be
consumable to privileged audiences;
pacing classes or workshops for the most
resistant participants
 “Change takes time,” “Start where they are,” fear of
causing discomfort
38
Withering SJE:
Ruby Payne Syndrome
 Latching onto ideas and models of hot
new voices without critical analysis of
their work
 Professional development focused more on
entertainment value than educational value
 Use of resources that contribute to stereotypes
and deficit perspective
 Examples: Payne, PLCs
39
Withering SJE:
Regressive Programming
 Minimizing social justice to co- or extracurricular programming; ignoring policy,
systems, and structures
 Student clubs
 Service learning that maintains social and
political hierarchies
 Dances, food fairs, cultural plunges, arts and
crafts
40
Dimensions of
Equitable Education
41
Dimensions of Equitable
Education
1. What our students bring to the classroom
2. What we
bring to the
classroom
4. Pedagogy
3. Curriculum content
Adapted from the work of Maurianne Adams and Barbara J. Love (2006).
42
Dimensions of Equitable
Education
1. What Students Bring to the Classroom
 Past educational experiences (it’s not
always all about us)
 Complex identities, socializations
 Expectations about the roles of students
and teachers
 Varying learning styles, intelligences, ways
of illustrating learning
43
Dimensions of Equitable
Education
2. What We Bring to the Classroom
 Complex socializations, identities, biases,
 Notions about the purposes of education
and our roles as teachers
 A teaching style, often related to our own
preferred learning styles and how we’ve
been taught
44
Dimensions of Equitable
Education
3. Curriculum Content
 Course materials: Who’s represented in
readings, examples, illustrations
 Perspective and worldview: Whose voices are
centered, whose are “other”ed
 Is content relevant to the lives of the students?
 What is the “hidden curriculum”?
 Are social justices issues addressed explicitly?
45
Dimensions of Equitable
Education
4. Pedagogy
 Focus on critical thinking
 Paying attention to inequity in classroom
processes
 Attending to sociopolitical relationships (power
and privilege) and hegemony in the classroom
 Acknowledging student knowledge through
problem-posing, dialogue, and general studentcenteredness
 Using authentic assessment
46
Student Outcomes
and Critical Praxis
47
Student Outcomes
Clarifications
1. We can work toward these outcomes in
individual classes, but usually they’re
reachable only through systemic reform. So the
question for all of us is, How can I within my
context contribute to moving students toward
these outcomes?
2. Because SJE is as much about unlearning as
about learning, it’s a process, not an immediate
transformation.
48
Student Outcomes
Outcome #1
Students will think critically, particularly
about those things about which they’ve
been taught previously not to think
critically.
Examples: Consumer culture, US foreign
policy, compulsory schooling
49
Student Outcomes
Outcome #2
Students will have considered their own
biases and prejudices, worked to
understand where those biases and
prejudices come from (hegemony), and
identified strategies for continued reflective
learning.
Examples: Racism, sexism, US-centrism
50
Student Outcomes
Outcome #3
Students will understand how every field of
knowledge can be used both to oppress
people and to promote social justice.
Examples: Eugenics vs. environmental
justice movement; the Eurocentric literary
canon vs. critical studies
51
Student Outcomes
Outcome #4
Students will understand how to apply skills
and knowledge to real-world human rights
issues.
Examples: Applying arts to social activism;
applying computer science to political
organizing
52
Student Outcomes
Outcome #5
Students will feel empowered to continue
seeking knowledge related to course
content.
Examples: Taking additional classes in an
area of interest, pursuing their own growth,
etc.
53
Student Outcomes
Outcome #6
Students won’t see their identities as
detrimental to a possible interest in a
particular field.
Examples: Girls identifying as future
engineers; boys identifying as future
teachers; students of color identifying as
future scientists
54
Student Outcomes
Outcome #7
Students will see their lives and work as
interconnected to the lives of the full
diversity of humanity.
Examples: Wealthy US students recognizing
the connection between their consumption
and poverty in other parts of the world.
55
How We Get There: The
Equitable Learning
Environment
56
The Equitable Learning
Environment
Part 1: What Your Students Bring
to the Classroom
57
The Equitable Learning
Environment
1. What Students Bring into the Classroom
A. Find ways to challenge stereotypes (both
in society and your own field)
Example: Albert Einstein as a white, male
scientist who wrote very progressive
essays about racism, imperialism, etc.
58
The Equitable Learning
Environment
1. What Students Bring into the Classroom
B. Watch for and challenge student
behaviors and relationships that reflect
stereotypical roles
Example: Young men assuming the lead in
lab activities, young women being “notetaker” in small groups
59
The Equitable Learning
Environment
1. What Students Bring into the Classroom
C. Be thoughtful about how you create
cooperative teams or small groups
Example: Avoid temptation to “distribute”
people from under-represented groups
(tokenism)
60
The Equitable Learning
Environment
1. What Students Bring into the Classroom
D. Understand students’ reactions to you
and your social identities in context
Example: Even if you don’t think much about
your whiteness (for example), it may
mean something significant to students of
color who may only rarely not have white
teachers
61
The Equitable Learning
Environment
1. What Students Bring into the Classroom
E. Help students un-learn the ways of being
and seeing that lend themselves to
prejudice
Example: Dichotomous thinking, competitive
nature of learning (NOTE: this also
means WE have to un-learn)
62
The Equitable Learning
Environment
Part 2: What You Bring to the
Classroom
63
The Equitable Learning
Environment
2. What You Bring into the Classroom
A. Identify and work to eliminate your
biases, prejudices, and assumptions
(yes, you do have them) about various
groups of students
Example: Race/ethnicity, gender, religion,
sexual orientation, religion,
socioeconomic status, (dis)ability, first
language, etc.
64
The Equitable Learning
Environment
2. What You Bring into the Classroom
B. Identify and work to broaden your
teaching style (which, according to
research, probably suits your learning
style)
Note: Research shows that two elements
most effect how somebody teaches: (1)
their preferred learning style, and (2) how
they were taught what they’re teaching
65
The Equitable Learning
Environment
2. What You Bring into the Classroom
D. Provide students with periodic
opportunities to share anonymous
feedback
Note: Students already feeling
disempowered and disconnected are not
likely to approach you about your
teaching or curriculum
66
The Equitable Learning
Environment
2. What You Bring into the Classroom
E. Share examples of when you’ve struggled
to climb out of the box and to see the
world and your field in their full
complexities
Note: When we make ourselves vulnerable
we make it easier for students to do the
same
67
The Equitable Learning
Environment
2. What You Bring into the Classroom
F. Consider the significance of the teacher/student
power relationship and what this means re:
student learning
Question: What might it mean to be a white male
computer science teacher teaching a young
African American woman in a field historically
hostile to African American women
(hegemony)?
68
The Equitable Learning
Environment
2. What You Bring into the Classroom
G. Identify the gaps in your knowledge about
social justice issues and pursue the
information to fill those gaps
Point: I cannot be a critical liberatory
practitioner if I’m not liberated in my own
thinking
69
The Equitable Learning
Environment
2. What You Bring into the Classroom
H. Build the skills necessary to intervene
effectively when injustice happens (with
students or colleagues)
Examples: Heterosexist joke or comment,
sexual harassment, men talking over
women
70
The Equitable Learning
Environment
2. What You Bring into the Classroom
I. Mind your compliments
Point: Research indicates that educators,
regardless of gender, are most likely to
compliment male students on their
intelligence. Female students?
71
The Equitable Learning
Environment
Part 3: Curriculum Content
72
The Equitable Learning
Environment
3. Curriculum Content
A. Assign tasks that challenge traditional
social roles
Example: Assign men to be note-takers,
women to be group facilitators, then
discuss why you did so
73
The Equitable Learning
Environment
3. Curriculum Content
B. Disturb the master narrative. Try
centering the sources you previously may
have used as supplements
Example: Slave narratives as central history
texts instead of supplements to a more
Eurocentric framing of history
74
The Equitable Learning
Environment
3. Curriculum Content
C. Avoid other-ing; weave diverse voices
and sources seamlessly together instead
of having separate sections or units
Example: No units on “women poets” or
“Latino voices,” etc.
75
The Equitable Learning
Environment
3. Curriculum Content
D. Discuss ways people in your field have
used (and continue to use) their
scholarship and platforms to advocate for
social justice
Examples: Leontyne Price, Howard Zinn,
Stephen J. Gould, Ida B. Wells, Mark
Twain
76
The Equitable Learning
Environment
3. Curriculum Content
E. Discuss ways people in your field have
used (and continue to use) their
scholarship and platforms to support
inequity and injustice
Examples: “Science”: eugenics; “journalists”:
refusal to critique Bush foreign policy
during war-time; etc.
77
The Equitable Learning
Environment
3. Curriculum Content
F. Discuss the history of oppression and
exclusion in your field and how this has
affected knowledge bases in your field
Examples: Women and STEM fields (and
law, business, etc.)
78
The Equitable Learning
Environment
3. Curriculum Content
G. Introduce the concept of cognitive
dissonance and its relationship to
hegemony
79
The Equitable Learning
Environment
3. Curriculum Content
H. Encourage students to raise critical questions,
not only about the content itself, but about how
the content is presented in educational
materials
Example: Use of male anatomy as “standard”;
differentiation between “American literature”
and “African American literature” (and misuse
of the term “American”)
80
The Equitable Learning
Environment
Part 4: Pedagogy
81
The Equitable Learning
Environment
4. Pedagogy
A. Be very clear about how you expect
students to participate (open discussion,
raised hands, etc.)
Related suggestion: Avoid first-hand-up,
first-called-on approach
82
The Equitable Learning
Environment
4. Pedagogy
B. Never, under any circumstance, invalidate
or allow other students to invalidate
concerns of inequity raised by students
from disenfranchised groups
83
The Equitable Learning
Environment
4. Pedagogy
C. Avoid putting students from
disenfranchised groups in positions to
have to teach people from privileged
groups about their privilege
84
The Equitable Learning
Environment
4. Pedagogy
D. Develop your facilitation skills so that you
can effectively facilitate “difficult
dialogues” about racism, sexism, poverty,
heterosexism, etc.
Note: When these dialogues happen, be
comfortable advocating for equity
85
The Equitable Learning
Environment
4. Pedagogy
E. Design assignments that encourage
students to apply what they’re learning to
a human rights issue
86
The Equitable Learning
Environment
4. Pedagogy
F. Allow students, when possible, to choose
how they will be assessed (as people
don’t demonstrate understanding and
application in the same ways)
Example: Choice between an essay or an
application project
87
The Equitable Learning
Environment
4. Pedagogy
G. Invite a colleague to observe your
teaching and provide feedback on a
variety of concerns
88
The Equitable Learning
Environment
4. Pedagogy
H. Use peer teaching, peer feedback, and
other peer interactions to provide
students an opportunity to learn content
through a variety of lenses—and to be
more active in knowledge construction
89
Shifts of Consciousness for
SJ Educators
90
Shifts of Consciousness
Shift #1
I must acknowledge that SJE is about
creating just learning environments
for all students, so I must be against
all injustice
91
Shifts of Consciousness
Shift #2
I must understand injustices as
systemic (hegemonic) and not just
individual acts (and what this means
in the context of my classroom)
92
Shifts of Consciousness
Shift #3
I must transcend the idea of equity
education as “learning about other
cultures” and “celebrating diversity”
93
Shifts of Consciousness
Shift #4
I must be willing to discomfort and
unsettle myself and my colleagues
Institutional likeability
94
Shifts of Consciousness
Shift #5
I must shift from an equality orientation
toward social justice to an equity
orientation
95
Shifts of Consciousness
Shift #6
I must move beyond the “objective
facilitator” role and actively advocate
for justice
96
Shifts of Consciousness
Shift #7
I must understand SJE as a
comprehensive approach, not
additional activities or slight shifts in
an otherwise monocultural,
hegemonic school or classroom
climate
97
Shifts of Consciousness
Shift #8
I must be able to see the hidden or
implicit curriculum as clearly as the
explicit curriculum—and teach my
students to do the same
98
Shifts of Consciousness
Shift #9
I must reject deficit theory. And I must
never, under any circumstance, make
an assumption about any student,
parent, or colleague based on a
single dimension of their identity
99
Shifts of Consciousness
Shift #10
I must never attempt to address
injustice through cultural
programming
100
What I Can Do:
Critical Liberation Praxis
101
What I Can Do
Strengthen the choir. Stand up
and sing.
102
What I Can Do
Use our institutional likeability.
Name inequity when and
where we see it.
103
What I Can Do
Know and work to eliminate our
own biases—the ways in
which we’ve been socialized
into U.S. hegemony.
104
What I Can Do
Fight to ensure students of
color and low-income students
are not placed unfairly into low
tracks.
105
What I Can Do
Eliminate tracking altogether.
106
What I Can Do
Remember, it’s about more than
race and class: home
language, (dis)ability, sexual
orientation…
107
What I Can Do
Refuse the corporatization and
privatization of public schools.
108
What I Can Do
Teach students about racism,
poverty, heterosexism,
imperialism, and other
atrocities, and how they
operate in schools.
109
What I Can Do
Make parent involvement more
accessible to low-income
families and families with
home languages other than
English.
110
What I Can Do
Insist that every student has
access to an equitable share
of the resources.
111
What I Can Do
Take a break from talking about
the achievement gap, and start
talking about the opportunity
gap.
112
What I Can Do
Refuse to blame the students
for simply responding to the
cards they’ve been dealt.
113
What I Can Do
Do an equity audit.
114
What I Can Do
Never minimize “achievement”
to test scores.
115
What I Can Do
Uncover hegemony in school
policies and work to change
them.
116
What I Can Do
Finally, and most importantly:
Empower the SJ advocates,
who too often feel particularly
disempowered.
117
Thank you.
Paul C. Gorski
[email protected]
http://www.edchange.org
118
Descargar

Multicultural Education as Equity and Social Justice