Counts (1978) had major criticisms of child-centered progressives like Dewey. He suggested that “their naïve belief in education free of social content was in fact a subtle but effective assent to the status quo because it ignored the reality that all education by necessity has a social dimension” (p. ix). Counts further argued that child-centered progressives did not reform education and/or society but rather subverted change (Counts, 1978). He argued that “to ignore this fact was to serve the interests of existing social elites” and that “child-centered progressives were not social progressives but [rather] unwilling social conservatives who masked their social views with child-centered language” (p. ix).
Today, Paulo Freire , Peter McLaren, Henry Grioux, and Ira Shor are four prominent names in critical pedagogy. Freire’s philosophy is akin to that of the Frankfurt School, Counts, and Dewey (Freire, 1970; Gibson, 1986; McLaren, 2003). The others’ writings on critical pedagogy and education are also amalgams of all of the previously mentioned schools of thought. In the following sections, the pedagogical ideas of these outstanding figures of critical pedagogy will be discussed in more details.
Freire’s pedagogical ideas:
At its most basic level, Freire’s work is an acknowledgement that the notion of a culturally neutral education is a fiction. Such a starting point puts a premium on diversity and makes it necessary for educators to recognize the locations of the students within culture and history and to pay close attention to specific contexts. Freire stresses that educators should not attempt to solve students problems for them, but rather by beginning with students’ specific contexts, educators can engage students in dialogue about the problems within their words and help students to come up with their own solutions.
In keeping with the idea of working with rather for the people, Freire warns teachers not to rely on a banking model of education in which knowledge is owned by teachers and deposited in students, who are constructed as empty vessels, devoid of either knowledge or relevant experience. Instead, Freire argues that teachers have to listen to students and begin with issues and generative themes which matter to them. There can be no one single pedagogy to fit all students, but instead there must be careful attention to and research into specific contexts, individual locations, and personal and group histories. What is important is that teachers do not provide solutions, but rather that they help to pose problems that arise from students realities so that students will be more critical thinkers about their situations. Teachers are no longer seen as possessing all the answers, but are instead constructed as teacher-students. Similarly, students are no longer seen as empty or lacking, but are instead constructed as student-teachers. In Freire’s formulation, teacher-students work with student-teachers in a dialogue that arises from a problem-posing method of education. In pedagogy of oppressed he says that authentic education is not carried on by A for B or by A about B, but rather by A with B mediated by the world. Freire emphasizes that teachers need to be critical and self-reflective in order to help students move toward critical consciousness and think in critical ways about the cultures, ideologies, and discourse of which they are a part. Critical pedagogy attempts to liberate teachers and students from viewing the world through personal lenses so they can begin to view the world critically through the lenses of humanity (Freire, 1970).
McLaren’s ideas:
Mclaren is one of the most outspoken proponent of critical pedagogy and sees it as the means to ask ourselves why we are the way we are, he argues that critical pedagogy poses a variety of important counter logics to the positivistic, a-historical, and depoliticized analysis employed both liberal and conservative critics and that is beneficial to education and even more to society (Mclaren, 2003). He believes that critical pedagogy aims to expose issues that are detrimental to students’ education, such as racism, sexism, and classism (Mclaren, 1999). He also asserted that although globalization can lead to additional marginalization of people, critical pedagogy aims to give every person a voice through which he or she can tell his or her story and be heard ( Farahmandpour & Mclaren, 2001).
Mclaren (2003) argues that, generally, classrooms try to mirror in organization what students and teachers would collectively like to see in the world outside of schools: respect for every one’s ideas, tolerance of differences, a commitment to creativity and social and educational justice, the importance of working collectively, a willingness and desire to work hard for betterment of humanity, a commitment to anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-homophobic practices, etc. Critical pedagogy problematizes the relationship between education and politics, between the reproduction of dependent hierarchies of power and privilege in the domain of everyday social life and that of classrooms and institutions. In doing so, it advances an agenda for educational transformation by encouraging educators to understand the sociopolitical contexts of educative acts and the importance of radically democratizing both educational sites and larger social formations (Fichman&Mclaren, 2005).
Giroux’s ideas:
Giroux is another one the most frequently-cited proponent of critical pedagogy and his influential text Theory and Resistance in Education which originally published in 1981, gives a general overview of his ideas. Giroux identifies and elaborates on themes now central to the field: restructuring the classrooms as a democratic public sphere, a critique of the instrumental rationality at the root of banking theories of education, and the need to connect classroom activities to the everyday lives of marginalized students. Giroux places his understanding of pedagogy as praxis within the tradition of the Frankfurt school of critical theory, and then offers his interpretation of the “hidden curriculum” that, in his view, keeps educators at the service of the dominant political and economic system despite their good intentions. Giroux (1989) has argued for a pedagogy of and for difference, a pedagogy that not only respects students voice and difference, using students lived experience as a narrative for agency and as a reference for critique, but also relates these differences to the wider social order, creating the democratic sense of respect for difference that is essential to any notion of equality in society. Furthermore, critical pedagogy looks at popular culture not in terms of an ideology critique of mass culture but as a significant pedagogical site of struggle that raises important questions about students᾽ subjectivity and experience (Giroux&Simon, 1989). Closely connected to the emphasis on student experience and popular culture is the notion of voice, “the means at our disposal- the discourses available to use- to make ourselves understood and listened to, and to define ourselves as active participants in the world” (Giroux, 1989: p. 1990).The criticisms of current educational policy are not only aimed at the current disempowerment of students but also at the disempowerment of teachers, who have become increasingly positioned as classroom technicians employed to transmit a fixed body of knowledge. Essential to critical pedagogy, then, is the realization of the need to empower teachers, to endow them with “emancipatory authority” as “transformative intellectuals”, to view teachers as “professionals who are able and willing to reflect upon the ideological principles that inform their practice, who connect pedagogical theory and practice to wider social issues, and who work together to share ideas, exercise power over the conditions of their labor, and embody in their teaching a vision of a better and more humane life” (Giroux and McLaren, 1989: p. xxiii). Thus, teachers are seen not as technicians employed to implement set curricula, but as intellectuals constantly exploring their own and their students’ lives. This view of the empowered and empowering teacher also breaks down the troublesome theory/practice divide and adopts the notion of informed praxis.
Shore’s ideas:
Education to shore (1992) is not all about acquiring a set of necessary skills and knowledge in order to function in the society. What is more important is to build an ability to see the world with critical mind. Shore argues that we should be teaching what he calls desocialization. In Empowering Education, he explains the term: desocialization refers to questioning the social behaviors and experiences in school and daily life that makes us into the people we are. It involves critically examining learned behavior, received values, familiar language, habitual perceptions, existing knowledge, power relations, and traditional discourse in class and out. Shore in When Students Have Power describes how the traditional tendency in education to talk at, talk about, talk around, and talk down to, but not talk with causes students to retreat from the educational process. Shore describes strategies for “power sharing” in which he seeks students input for class decisions and actions, even elements of curriculum design and grading.
2.4 Critical Applied Linguistics
Critical perspectives in applied linguistics emerged since 1980s and has been welcomed by some and rejected by others. Some of these perspectives emerged under overt banners of criticality; critical discourse analysis, critical literacy, or critical pedagogy; others are informed by general formations of critical work and theory: gender studies, queer theory, post colonial studies, or anti-racist pedagogy (Pennycook, 2001).
At first glance, it may be said that applied linguistics (AP) and critical applied linguistics (CAL) deal with different facets of the same subject matter, they also do it in very different ways, and they may not have much in common (Carlson, 2004). Some believes that critical applied linguistics is little more than a critique of other orientations to applied linguistics. For some other applied linguists, critical applied linguistics may be defined as little more than mainstream work. Davis (1999) gives a broader role to critical applied linguistics as both a mode of critique and critical pedagogy, as a mode of practice. From this perspective it “offers an alternative applied linguistics, known as critical applied linguistics (CAL). It does this in two ways, first by offering a critique of traditional applied linguistics and second, by exemplifying one way of doing CAL which is named critical pedagogy”(P.20). In this broader perspective, there are different ways of doing CAL which critical pedagogy is just one of them. Pennycook (2001) argues that critical applied linguistics has power over applied linguistics when he says that critical applied linguistics is not about developing a set of skills that will make the doing of applied linguistics more rigorous or make objective, but about making applied linguistics more politically accountable. The job of critical applied linguistic is to seek out the problems inherent in social and therefore in linguistic relations (Carlson, 2004). Moreover, CAL does not purport to do this from an apolitical position, but rather CAL must take up certain positions and stances (pennycook, 2001). Carlson (2004) believes that the essential question facing applied linguistics is not the denial of action but how to keep action dynamic and responsive to criticism, and thus both applied linguistics and critical]]>

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