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[Xmca-l] Re: What is a Pedagogy of the Oppressors?
Wow, this is a great thread, one I think about all the time, as one of the
oppressors. Not by choice, as I see this as a structural, or rather a
"positional" category, akin to the workings of power in terms of one's
relationship to the means of production. I can still recall Horkheimer and
Adorno's anecdote in *Dialectic of Enlightenment*, one the ways that the
songs of the Sirens went unheard by Odysseus' crew--as he had stoppered
their ears--yet remained useless to Odysseus as he was lashed to the mast.
So, I certainly agree that we need a pedagogy of the oppressors as a
complement to that of the oppressed. I always thought that was the major
effort of the Frankfurt School.
As someone who teaches secondary school pre-service teachers, I am quite
aware of my structural position as an "officer of the State." I was in the
middle of revising my syllabi for the upcoming semester when I saw this
thread emerge. The advent of the corporate reform of schooling called
Common Core poses a fundamental threat to the democratic roots of education
in the US, yet I can neither ignore it nor simply trash it. The students I
prepare must be able to address the Core if they are to have a career at
all. So, for better or worse, I find the best resistance to be the tightest
embrace of the "principles" embedded in the Core, an embrace that, I hope,
lets me transform them into a useful and useable critique of the Core
itself. So, this semester, we examine "speaking" and "writing" standards in
terms of dialect, code, and register differences. We develop lessons and
units in which high school students grapple with the reality of
"code-switching," and the choices one can make to successfully navigate
speech and writing situations defined by conflicting purposes and
Of course, all this is news to my students, almost all of whom are white
and middle-class, and most of whom are male. So, I approach these topics by
emphasizing that learners develop best when teaching meets them where they
are and builds on what they know. I choose texts that de-emphasize the
kinds of oppression that plays out in the lives of urban students. So,
where does someone like me fit in this mosaic? Are we "leading the
resistance from behind; or allowing ourselves to be co-opted?" My answer to
that changes at least weekly, sometimes daily. I can only say that I'm
doing what I can.
Francis J. Sullivan, Ph.D.
Department of Teaching and Learning
College of Education
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Find out what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact
measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.
On Sun, Jan 4, 2015 at 3:46 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <email@example.com> wrote:
> I am peeling off from the old thread to begin a new thread!
> Our inquiry hear appears to be: What is a Pedagogy of the Oppressors?
> I suggest "a" and not "the" because there could be more than one, surely?
> For new arrivers to this thread, it commenced from this thread here:
> With its genesis here, thanks to Greg!
> Kind regards,