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Showing posts from November, 2013

Our Problem is Obedience

“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.” -Howard Zinn
The historian Howard Zinn always had a great way with words; simplifying complex issues into a popular language that would connect with anyone reading it. His mantra in the quote above has resonated with me for a long time. However, the longer I teach, the more value I see in his thoughts on obedience within the teaching profession.

For far too long, teachers have obeyed harmful policies and practices that have had a negative impact on our students and education system. For example:

1…

What the Hell is Critical Pedagogy?

Sorry for  the crude title of this post, but it's a phrase that I often get when I mention critical pedagogy with other educators. I'm a big believer in the idea of 'praxis' as coined by Paulo Freire, which states that understanding theory is essential to our practice as educators. I remember being in teachers college and having conversations with classmates about how they didn't think theory had any value to us. I must admit, when I first started, I also thought that the time we were spending in philosophy class was taking up valuable time that I could have been using in the classroom to learn 'how to be a teacher'.

However, my appreciation of the theory of education drastically changed while in a philosophy of education class and I learned about Paulo Freire and critical pedagogy. At first, I wasn't immediately drawn to Paulo's ideas of critical instruction and his critique of the banking theory of education, as I could barely understand what he me…

An Open Letter to Teach For Canada

Dear Teach For Canada,

How are you doing? I just wanted to take the time to welcome you to Canada's education community..........and also address a few concerns that I have with your program.

You have recently embarked upon the Canadian education landscape hoping to fix education inequality with the work of the 'future leaders of Canada'. There is not much information on your website (http://teachforcanada.ca/), so it is difficult to ascertain as to how you imagine you will use the 'future leaders' to overcome the education gap. I assume, due to your name, that you will be based off of the 'Teach For America' model where you'll throw top graduates from university into remote and difficult school settings after a short period of training. Unfortunately, since you have created this organization, I am worried that you have not understood the failures of the Teach for America program. If you're unfamiliar with this concept, I'll direct you towards e…