Pedagogy of the Oppressed: Chapter 4 Reflections

One element of chapter four that I found interesting was the discussion around revolution. Freire includes a quote by Lenin that says, “without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement” (pg. 125). The idea is that a revolution can only be achieved with reflection AND action. Not only that, but the oppressed must place more than a reactionary role in order for the revolution to truly occur. It is not enough for leaders (the oppressors) to be the thinkers and the oppressed to be the doers. Applying this to the classroom, this could very much look like a professor just doling out assignments and students responding by mimicking back what they have learned in class from the professor. As the oppressed in this situation, they are not truly participating in either reflection or action, just what they are being allowed to do by the professor (oppressor). Freire makes an interesting point along this line. He mentions how if this does happen not only are the oppressed being denied their revolution, but the oppressors are as well. Even oppressors who are trying to be part of the revolution, if they do not engage in dialogue, still retain characteristics of the dominator therefore they cannot be truly revolutionary. Trying to carryout a revolution for the people is just as hard or about the same as trying to carry out a revolution without the people. Freire emphasizes that “dialogue with the people is radically necessary to every authentic revolution” (pg. 128).

Some take aways from Chapter 2 of “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.”

One part of chapter two that stuck out to me was the discussion of the banking method. While I have never really liked the lecture form of teaching (the professor telling me everything I need to know), this chapter made me think about it in a different way. As Freire points out, “knowledge is a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those whom they consider to know nothing” (pg. 72). This way of thinking, however, projects an obsolete ignorance onto others, which is a characteristic of oppression. Before reading this, I never thought to consider how this form or style of teaching (the banking method) could turn into a form of oppression assuming that the professor knows everything, and the students know nothing. This method has continued, according to Freire, continues to be used as a way to adapt students to the world of oppression. The cycle can continue because students are just funneled into it. People who are put through this process “often do not perceive its true significance or its dehumanizing power” (pg. 78). According to Freire, this can be combated with the use of more dialogue and discussion in the classroom. By bringing students into the dialogue, they are not simply just being filled up by the professor, but they are learning to feel and understand things for themselves and relate what they are learning to their own experiences.

Reflecting on Elements of Pedagogy of the Oppressed: Chapter 1.

One element from chapter one that I found interesting was the idea that not only do the oppressed have to realize on their own that they are oppressed, but also, once they have come to that realization, they must work even harder not to become the oppressor in return. In the process of trying to regain their own humanity, it is important that they work to restore the humanity of the oppressor. This is the only way that the cycle will not become continued. However, this is a huge burden to place on the shoulders of individuals who already have a large burden to bare. It does not seem fair to ask this of them. The idea of getting revenge on those that wronged them is often more tempted than turning the other check, forgiving, and taking the high road. In his book, however, Freire, insists it is the job of the oppressed to not only liberate themselves, but their oppressors as well. He points out that it is the job of the oppressed to do so, because despite all the power the oppressor might have, they lack the power to free themselves or the oppressed. According to Freire “only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both” (pg. 44).

Reflecting on Teaching

Before starting teaching by myself, I had a lot of expectations going in. I was nervous and worried that I might make a mess of the entire thing. And while the experience was not perfect, I think it went better than I anticipated. The students seemed pretty engaged with most of them filling out the entire worksheet I gave them. However, they blew through everything I asked them to do so quickly, that I ended up having to let them out about fifteen minutes early. I am proud of myself in the fact that I created an entirely new activity for them during the class to help take up a bit more time but also to help cement into their minds what I had been teaching them about how to conduct research. I put them into groups and had them write down their own personal research strategies including everything they did. They wrote down their topics, how they went about searching, what limiters they used, if they used basic or advanced search, what resources they found, and more. I then had each group go around and talk about what they did. I did this as a way for them to realize that there are many ways you can go about conducting research and you don’t have to follow one set formula. Overall, I think the class was a successful learning experience for both myself and the students in the class. I have another session that I am doing with them, so I am interested to see them apply what they learned before in this next session.

Reflecting on the making of a Learning Module

This week I decided to reflect on my learning module and the progress I have made as well as just the entire process I have gone through while making it. It has been interesting to see all the different parts slowly come together from the very basic outlines I made to full scripts and videos. With each step, I always think it is going to be more complicated and take more time than it actually does. I think once I get down to the real nitty gritty of putting it all together that is when it is going to take more time and attention to detail. Making the videos in Camtasia has really been a test to just slow down and take my time. I know how to use more complicated video editing software like Premire Pro so using Camtasia can be a little ticky at times, but I have liked getting to learn another video editing application. I like how Camtasia allows you to zoom in and that the animations and effects are much easier to apply. Overall, I have enjoyed creating my learning module and just figuring out how I want it all to work together. I am very excited to see what the completed project will look like when I am done.

A Response to Grand Narratives

Overall, I really liked this article, because while this idea of certain people not being represented in literature is something I have thought about before, I had not thought of it in the same framework presented by Franks. As Franks points out in her article, there are grand narratives being given as representative of all human experience. However, if we begin asking ourselves whose voices are being represented in these narratives, it is easy to see that these grand narratives do not apply to everyone and that some individuals are not being included in the story. Having narratives that assert only one authority or only have one overarching voice are cause for concern. What gets left out of the literature when this happens is an important point of discussion not only to search for unanswered questions but also to help include minor payers that might not be fully represented. I liked how, despite the problems with these grand narratives, Franks says it should not discourage students doing research on a topic that includes this. Instead, they should see it as an opportunity to criticize the work or to create a new discussion about it.

Reflecting on My Co-Teaching Experience

Since my last post about co-teaching, I have helped co-teach three other library instruction classes. Slowly, I have built up to do more and more in the classroom. Originally just showing students how to use Scout to exploring other databases with them, walking them through assignments, explaining my own research process, and more. Overall, it has been a very beneficial experience for me. While co-teaching is not how I pictured it would be, I have enjoyed getting to interact with students. It is rewarding to see them engaged in a lesson or being able to find things they are looking for.

Additionally, while the library instruction classes are meant to help students learn and prepare for their classes, they have also helped me. I have always been pretty good at searching but now not only have I just been able to learn more about how to search effectively and efficiently, but I have also just learned a lot about the library and the resources offered in an academic library. There are so many things I did not know were offered to me as an undergraduate student that I am now aware of. It makes me excited to know I have the opportunity to help these students in ways that can make learning fun as well as just make their lives easier when it comes to school. I can help show them services the library offers them, which I know would have been really helpful to me when I was in undergrad.

On Reflection

While reading “On Reflection,” I kept thinking about my own process of reflecting especially the reflecting I’ve done on here about my co-teaching experiences and just sitting in on the library instruction classes. One thing I liked about the piece is how it broke down curriculum into three groups: lived curriculum (everything a student has learned up to that point), delivered curriculum (planned curriculum they learn in class), and experienced curriculum (how each student experiences the delivered curriculum). It was interesting to try and apply these ideas to my own reflection. Thinking about how this applies in the library instruction classroom not only for myself but also for the students in the class. Every student comes into those classes with different levels of each type of curriculum and how not every student is the same.

Additionally, I just enjoyed thinking about how people learn to write and connecting that with the process of reflection. The piece points out that if you are confused and wondering about how someone got to a conclusion in their writing just to ask them. Many writing subjects can often be up to interpretation (which is given as an example later in the piece. The author mentions how when talking to students about their answers on a writing assignment, many students interpreted the writing prompt differently than how the teacher meant it or expected for it to be interpreted). Students can come at a subject with many different ways of thinking or with more than one point of view. Connecting this with reflection and the idea that articulating what we have learned for ourselves (reflection) is a vital part of learning. Moreover, through this process we learn to better understand subjects and ideas when we spend time reflecting on them.

Co-Teaching: Some Thoughts

My first experience co-teaching was last week when I helped James teach two EN 101 classes. One notable part of the experience was that I was far less nervous about co-teaching than I thought I would be. This summer I spent a lot of time helping with the journalism school’s orientation, and being in the library instruction classes felt very similar. Another notable aspect of the class was that the teacher whose class it was was very hands on and interactive with myself and James, which made the students more at ease. They participated and spoke a lot more than James or I anticipated, which helped make the classroom more comfortable for myself as well.

For my part, I helped teach the students Scout as well as helped them determine what reliable sources are when it comes to research and writing papers. At the end of the class, the students worked on an assignment their professor gave them, which meant I got to help the students navigate Scout themselves and identify trustworthy sources. It was cool to not only be about to teach them about these things, but then be apply to help them practically apply it themselves. Because they were doing an assignment, the things they were learning in the library instruction class were more meaningful, which caused them to be more attentive and ready to learn.

Reflecting on Universal Design

I enjoyed the chapter “Universal Design” especially how the actor linked design of buildings to the design of classrooms/teaching. To quote the article “Universal Design is not about buildings, it is about building – building community, building better pedagogy, building opportunities for agency. ” It is not like one size fits all. The goal of designing buildings shouldn’t be to accommodate for “normal” people just as time in the classroom shouldn’t focus solely on the “normal” students forgetting that there is a wide range of learning styles in the classroom. One example the author gave from her classroom was how she accommodated her teaching style to all types of students. She realized that not every student can just automatically answer a question asked in class, rather, some students need the entire class period to come up with a response, while others benefit more from a couple of days reflection. When given more time, she said  students can do more and better thinking. This idea says that the design of a lesson shouldn’t be geared to one type of student and that all students, no matter how they learn, should be considered.

This goes into Universal Design of buildings. Something the article pointed out that I never really thought about was the idea of a “design bias.” Universal Design is not just about temporarily accommodating individuals with disabilities, rather, it is about designing for a wide range of people in mind. It is about planning for the active involvement for all just like what I mentioned above when it comes to teaching. When designing a building, the idea of accessibility for people with disabilities shouldn’t be an after thought. Additional parts shouldn’t be added on later. Instead, Universal Design is a push toward seeing space as a open to multiple possibilities. Space should not be decided for one group of people, rather, all users need to shape the space.