Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Decolonizing Through Dialogue: Authentic Teaching in the Age of Testing and Common Core Badass Teachers Association

Badass Teachers Association: Decolonizing Through Dialogue: Authentic Teaching in the Age of Testing and Common Core by Steven Singer:

Decolonizing Through Dialogue: Authentic Teaching in the Age of Testing and Common Core 

by Steven Singer



If you’re not careful, being a public school teacher can become an act of colonization.
This is especially true if you’re a white teacher like me with classes of mostly black students. But it’s not the only case. As an educator, no matter who you are or whom you teach, you’re a symbol of authority and you get that power from the dominant structures in our society.
Believe it or not, our schools are social institutions, so one of their chief functions is to help recreate the social order. Students enter as malleable lumps of clay and exit mainly in the shapes we decide upon. Therefore, as an educator, it’s hard not to fall into the habit of molding young minds into the shapes society has decided are appropriate.
In some ways this is inevitable. In others, it’s even desirable. But it also runs against the best potential of education
In short, this isn’t what a teacher should be. My job in front of the classroom isn’t to make my students into anything. It’s to give them the opportunity, to generate the spark that turns them into their best selves. And the people who ultimately should be the most empowered in this process are the students, themselves
But it’s easier said than done
The danger is best expressed in that essential book for any teacher, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” where Paulo Freire writes
“Worse yet, it turns them (the students) into ‘containers,’ into ‘receptacles’ to be filed by the teacher. The more completely she fills the receptacles, the better a teacher she is. The more meekly the receptacles permit themselves to be filled, the better students they are.

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