Volume 9, Issue 2, 2013
Editors' Note Volume 9 Issue 2
Critical pedagogy is conceived in the contemporary educational era as a means to help improve learning skills and abilities and thus, the scholastic achievements of students from disadvantaged groups. Yet, we know very little about the ways in which critical pedagogy is interpreted and understood in disadvantaged schools. This study seeks to examine the implementation of critical pedagogy in a secular Jewish high school in an impoverished neighborhood in Israel. The high school strives to attain scholastic achievement by instilling critical consciousness. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted over a two-year period, I analyzed the interpretations of critical pedagogy by teachers and parents during the process of preparing students for matriculation exams. This period was chosen due to the fact that these final exams were posited as the apex of the school’s aims and learning process. With regard to critical pedagogy, the findings reveal that two distinct discourses—achievement-ism and critique—played out in the school. These discourses were not conceived as complementary but rather as two contradicting positions that diverged along socio-economic lines – that of the teachers and the parents. Therefore, whereas most of the teachers regarded critical pedagogy as a radical alternative to the exam system, most of the parents regarded critical pedagogy as a non-normative radical option that threatened the exam system. The differential ways in which critical pedagogy was interpreted by teachers and parents begs us to continue calling it into question and to articulate new models for a critical pedagogy that sees oppression for the multilayered complex arena that it is.
This article argues against the common sense of "theory into practice" and the absolute validity of the findings of social science by executing close readings of three significant texts dealing with (1) the notion of action, (2) the subjective nature of science, and (3) the philosophical gaps and problems in our understanding of and value for social science. This argument is meant to support the emergence of forms of educational thought that have mostly been forgotten or ignored at the level of policy, curriculum, funding, and social discourse.
Using a self-study methodology to illustrate the ways in which educational institutions can be socially reproductive, hegemonic, and oppressive, the essayist reflects upon his experiences as an elementary school teacher in the United States and as a researcher and adult literacy instructor in Brazil and Mozambique. Drawing upon his own experience engaging with Paulo Freire’s writings through autobiographical storytelling, he argues that Freire’s pedagogical models and theories provide a productive (albeit difficult) path for how to challenge unjust educational systems. The essay closes by arguing that while Freirean pedagogy may be difficult to imagine or implement on a large scale, the writings of Paulo Freire provide a framework wherein educators as individuals can push themselves and their students towards Freire’s notion of critical consciousness.
In an interview with Professor Johanna Drucker, she shares her new collaboratively written book, Digital_Humanities, and her thoughts on the growth of Digital Humanities and its place and future in the academy. Her insights highlight the critical approaches of Digital Humanities (DH) and how DH challenges traditional notions of scholarship and opens up new methods of humanistic inquiry.
Book Review: Making History Matter: Documenting Feminist & Queer Activism in the 21st Century Edited by Lyz Bly and Kelly Wooten
This is a review of the Litwin Books publication Making History Matter: Documenting Feminist & Queer Activism in the 21st Century by Lyz Bly and Kelly Wooten.
Book Review: Toys and Tools in Pink: Cultural Narratives of Gender, Science, and Technology by Carole Colatrella
This book review summaries and analyzes Carol Colatrella's book titled Toys and Tools in Pink: Cultural Narratives of Gender, Science, and Technology. Colatrella adds a new dimension to the conversation about women's representation in STEM fields through close readings of literature and visual media that portray women in these fields.
Book Review: Thieves of Book Row: New York's Most Notorious Rare Book Ring and the Man Who Stopped It by Travis McDade
Thieves of Book Row examines the circumstances surrounding the wide-scale library book theft ring in 1920’s and 1930’s Manhattan.
Networks Without a Cause offers a provocative and critical review of today's well established social media. The book departs from the recognition that new media has reached a second phase of maturation, after Wikileaks and the Arab Spring demonstrated the politically crucial dimension of the Internet. This political shift is accompanied by growing criticism over corporations such as Facebook or Google, and a general concern about Net Neutrality and regulation of the Internet. In the words of the author, “the friction-free days of a 'multi-stakeholder' governance [of the Internet] are now over,” (P. 1) and what comes next is a confusing struggle for the definition of the technological foundations of our society.
Book Review: The Social Neuroscience of Education: Optimizing Attachment & Learning in the Classroom by Louis Cozolino
There is an ease to which Cozolino’s explains social neuroscience and applies it our most vital area of economic growth, education, making this a must read for those seeking to improve education.