As we have discussed, there are many different views, ideas, and strategies when it comes to creating curricula. It has shaped and been moulded tremendously throughout the history of schooling, and what was once popular could now be considered as unjust and exclusive. For example, while some of the ideas presented by John Dewey seem to be fantastic (learning by doing), he believed these methods were only worthy of a white audience.
Racism, hate, and prejudice have been present in the curriculum for many years. Montessori who was assumed to support eugenics developed a school, while having strong ideals regarding individuality and independence, became possessive and shy to new approaches. Now, we see a shift towards inclusivity for all, including race and gender. I appreciate the desire to include all learners and the recognition that everyone, in fact, is a learner. Paulo Freire, who stresses the importance of understanding the context you teach in, is a frontrunner in anti-oppresive education. He believes in education that is both just and inclusive. Here is a quote from him I enjoyed from Pedagogy of the Oppressed:
“Leaders who do not act dialogically, but insist on imposing their decisions, do not organize the people–they manipulate them. They do not liberate, nor are they liberated: they oppress.”
Simply, this quote spoke to me. I have always strived to be an educator who learns from their students, listens to their students, and loves their students. I try to create a classroom environment for all types of students, and one that allows for plenty of self-discovery and choice. I like to allow students to learn independently and interdependently, allowing for time for ‘fun’. It often upsets me to see educators who harness very last ounce of power they can possibly achieve; those who insert dominance and disregard their own mistakes or failures to be the fault of others. I feel this quote addresses those who may be ‘power hungry’ and states they are creating an environment which incarcerates students. Also, they suck creativity from their students by enforcing ideas other than the students own upon them, and cage students from becoming life-long learners. I believe they do this by first, creating a negative connotation and opinion about learning amount students, and secondly, by stripping them from individual views and thoughts to build upon in future educational settings – the students only know the thoughts and opinions of the educator.
I enjoyed this quote because I could visualize it throughout my kindergarten to grade twelve schooling. I encountered teachers who gave varying degrees of freedom to their students and found the most respected teachers where those who allowed their students to think and act freely. I hope to be this teacher in the future.