Reflecting on “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, Chapter 2

Freire’s main idea for chapter 2 of his book presents itself as a rehumanization of pedagogy. While Freire is not simply talking about pedagogy but also power-relations at large, his analysis of education is still relevant to thinking about teaching and the role of teachers in the classroom. He says of humanist educators “they must be partners of the students in their relations with them” which is far removed from the more traditional master-apprentice view of teaching. This chapter challenged a lot of preconceptions I had about education, being an educator, and what the ideal goal of the student-teacher relationship should be. Education should be a process of mutual validation and exploration, and I wholly agree with Freire’s breakdown of the banking model of education and why it fails to humanize students and help them actualize in their own education.

Reflecting on Upcoming Teaching

This weekend I am preparing to teach for the first time in around six months or so. It is always nerve wracking getting back into the classroom after a long time without teaching. I am preparing to teach scout searching, keyword development, an introduction to library resources, and critically evaluating sources. My favorite thing to teach in the library classroom is source evaluation. This time, with the help of another librarian, I am helping the students learn to “read laterally.” I had not heard this term before this week, but it turns out I have been reading laterally all along. Basically, reading laterally helps students to determine source authority and accuracy by requiring them to read other sources from different venues to compare information on an issue rather than just fact checking and researching within the same website. Here is a link to a Stanford study about reading laterally. I am super excited to implement this in the classroom. I will be reporting back later on how this goes.

Reflecting on Mike Rose’s “The Language of Exclusion”

Rose is writing in 1985, but some of his concerns could easily apply to the university today as well. Freshman composition is often still treated as a place for student’s writing to be “remediated.” Writing instructors are still underpaid, and the position is not always valued. Rose works to problematize the words “illiteracy” and “remediation” in this article. Rose’s history of the term “illiteracy” was very illuminating. It was interesting to learn that the original Census counted anyone as literate who could write their name. The meaning of illiteracy has changed many times since then, with one of the later definitions meaning anyone who can read and write at sixth grade level. He realizes “how caught up we all are in a political-semantic web that restricts the way we think about the place of writing in the academy at the way people in academia” (342). He argues that to use the terms illiteracy and remediation are exclusionary, and that we can take steps to prioritize writing in the classroom in ways that do not stigmatize those whose writing does not meet academia’s stringent standards. I also found his section on the evolution of how we describe dyslexia to be interesting. I do agree that we should be careful about the words we use to describe how students may struggle with writing.