While reading the excerpt from “Empowering Education” by Ira Shor It seemed as though it encompasses everything we’ve learned so far in class, it was a very appropriate last reading in that sense. Here I’ve picked out some quotes that were particularly eye catching, as they really highlighted what this peace meant for me.
“The choice of subject matter cannot be neutral, whose history and literature is taught and whose is ignored? Which groups are included and which are left out of the reading list or text? From whose point of view is the past and present examined?…”
This stood out to me because it made me think of things in a way I hadn’t before. No matter what content you choose to teach, it makes a political statement. Some may think that explicitly making sure that your course content is diverse and relates to their students is overtly political, but as this quote highlighted, also choosing not to creates a statement all the same. Some people may use the excuse of not wanting to create a stir, to justify going along with curriculums that fit the status quo. To those who think this, I believe that they should think of the situation as stated here. This also reminded me of Delpit when she advised educators to ask “Who is left out”, And Finn when he stated that education is always political.
“The difference between empowering and traditional pedagogy has to do with the positive or negative feelings students can develop from the learning process”
Throughout this piece, it highlighted how education can create an overall feeling of resistance by students due to its inability to relate to them. Instead of having a system where the students are simply fed information from one point of view in a seemingly one way fashion, Shor suggests something different. Shor suggests that students be critical thinkers, question what is given to them, and have classrooms where there is an equal distribution of power between student and teacher. It is also suggested that students should be able to talk about making differences to the course plans and syllabuses through negotiation if they feel it need be. This way, it results in a more empowering environment for students.
“People are naturally curious. They are born learners. Education can ether develop or stifle their inclination to ask why and to learn. A curriculum that avoids questioning school and society is not, as is commonly supposed, politically neutral.”
I picked this quote because I can personally attest to this, and because of this, was able to get a better understanding of the philosophies Shor was talking about. As a younger child, I was very curious and inquisitive, my mom would actually limit the amount of questions we would e able to ask over a given amount of time because I would ask so many. She would say things like “While we’re watch this show you only get three questions so ask wisely.” And I do truly believe that education can either foster or discourage this quality.