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C. A. Bowers

In The False Promises of Constructivist Theories of Learning: A Global and Ecological Critique, C. A. Bowers examines why constructivist-based educational reforms fail to take into account these current critical issues: the deepening ecological crisis, globalization, and undermining of the world’s diverse cultural commons. Special attention is given to the ethnocentrism and Social Darwinism that created the foundations for the ideas of Dewey, Piaget, and Freire. Also considered is how the neo-liberal promoters of economic globalization share their taken-for-granted assumptions. Additionally, Bowers explains how teachers in different cultures can contribute to the revitalization of their cultural and environmental commons without engaging in the cultural imperialism that characterizes constructivist approaches to educational reform.
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Alexis Ngatcha

Deutschunterricht in Kamerun kann in seinen Zielsetzungen und Inhalten nicht «neutral» sein, es muss eine politische Pädagogik eingesetzt werden, wobei Lernenden als zukünftigen Führungskräften geholfen werden soll, ihre koloniale Vergangenheit, ihre gesellschaftlichen Probleme und die politische Situation ihres Landes wahrzunehmen und eigene Schlussfolgerungen zu ziehen. Anhand eines von ihm entwickelten Modells zeigt der Autor Wege auf, wie diese Anforderungen an den Deutsch-als-Fremdsprachenunterricht konkretisiert und in Aktionsforschung implementiert werden können. Die These des Autors wird durch zwei Konzeptionen untermauert: durch die in der Sprachlehrforschung verbreitete Sicht der Institution Fremdsprachenunterricht als multidimensionale Faktorenkomplexion, in der jede Veränderung empirisch, interdisziplinär und lernerorientiert sein sollte, und zum zweiten durch Paolo Freires Erziehung und Bildung als Praxis der Freiheit.
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Richard A. Brosio

This book offers description and analysis of philosophies that can provide scaffolding and justification for the construction of critical, democratic, educational theory and practice. The reader is presented with a broad, historical treatment of ideas in their social, political, economic, and educational contexts; moreover, the perennial quest for certainty is contrasted with those who have decided it has always been an unhappy, unsuccessful, and dangerous quest. Richard A. Brosio argues that the scaffolding and building materials for the construction of critical, democratic education are best provided by those thinkers who recognize epistemological uncertainty, as well as the need for a broadly inclusive human attempt to make sense of our experiences, education, and world. The cast of characters includes classical Greeks, Marx, Dewey, existentialists, liberationists, Freire, politics of identity thinkers, and postmodernists – along with a touch of green.
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Collaborative Latin American Popular Theatre

From Theory to Form,- From Text to Stage

Elena De Costa

Since the latter part of the 1960's the pedagogic philosophy of Paulo Freire and the theatrical techniques of Augusto Boal have been reflected in the theatre first in Brazil, then in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, and other countries. This study traces the emergence of the collaborative popular theatre movement in Latin America, as the teatro de concientización espoused by Freire and Boal revolutionized the content and structure of the Latin American performance text. Few attempts have been made to define this dramatic form and to accord it the recognition it so well deserves, since it speaks to the specific concerns of regional target audiences. The present analysis offers new insights into the evolution of collaborative popular theatre as an artistic form and, perhaps even more importantly, it addresses its sociopolitical implications.
The uniqueness of this dramatic form is its ability to unite a populace in the task of codifying reality into symbols that can generate critical consciousness, empowering the spectator-participant to alter his relationship to nature and social forces and to fulfill his historical «vocation» of becoming part of many transforming agents of social reality in his community.
The text includes the artistic contributions of groups such as Libre Teatro Libre, Teatro Experimental de Cali, Teatro La Fragua, and the dramatic movements of the Chilean Teatro Poblacional and the Nicaraguan Teatro Comunitario, among others.
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School Sucks!

Arguments for Alternative Education

Rochelle Brock and Greg S. Goodman

School Sucks! is designed to complement the dominant discourse of school reform by presenting a compendium of critical pedagogical writings that analyze the current issues in urban education and demonstrate alternative praxis for failing schools. The two editors of this volume also serve as the series editors for Peter Lang Publishing’s Educational Psychology and Black Studies and Critical Thinking series, giving them remarkable resources from which to draw this selection of writings that represent the very best concepts of pedagogy and praxis. School Sucks! furthers the reader's knowledge of the pretext of urban educational problems and promotes a positive praxis of urban educational reform.
Inspired by mentors Mary McLeod Bethune and Paulo Freire, School Sucks! employs a critical pedagogy and praxis in calling for wholesale changes within our urban schools.
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Bernardo E. Pohl

The fusion of critical pedagogy, holistic (moral) education, and disability studies continues to be uncharted waters and, in some academic venues, a hotly contested topic. A discourse advocating for a liberating pedagogy for the disabled is still absent. Based on critical and moral pedagogy, The Moral Debate on Special Education is the self-narrative of a disabled special education teacher who is searching for the answers and spaces where this dialogue and narrative can take place. What started as mere research for social justice in education has morphed, unintentionally, into the moral quest for justice and equality in special education. Celebrating the legacy of Paulo Freire, Joe L. Kincheloe, Shirley Steinberg, David Purpel, Peter McLaren, Cameron White, Michael Connelly, Jean Clandinin, and other contemporaries, Bernardo E. Pohl, Jr. delves into the tensions, promises, and challenges of special education from the unique perspective of a disabled educator.
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Contrasting Arguments

The Culture War and the Clash in Education  

Oscar Pemantle

Contrasting Arguments presents the variable story of the culture wars and the clash in education from the point of view of the principal actors on the two sides. This makes it a very different story from the one told by their disciples and followers in the schools of education. According to the main actors, the root of the contemporary culture clash goes back to the Enlightenment and beyond to the historical Socrates and the platonic dialogues. However, there are much deeper issues that exist on a more fundamental level: (1) subject-object distinction deriving from Hegel, (2) the nature of human consciousness either as perception or as experience, (3) rejection of consciousness as an entirety and its acceptance by the other side from Gramsci and Freire, (4) the consequent development of a theory of instruction and craft of teaching, and (5) the phenomenon of "inversion" as an explanation of the moral force of the evangelical coming from the left. Each issue is discussed in a chapter devoted to the theme in question, with an appropriate title to guide the reader. This book closes by contrasting the best theories to help readers make their choices and cut through the culture clash. Contrasting Arguments is a must read for students of Gramsci, Freire, Socrates, Plato, Hegel, Dewey, Bruner and beyond who are interested in how these great minds clash in our global education efforts.

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Does Your Vote Count?

Critical Pedagogy and Democracy

Paul R. Carr

The public debate on democracy is often constrained within an alienating and disenfranchising narrative of opinion polls, campaign platforms, personalities and formal structures that generate legislation, all of which surreptitiously seems to trickle down to the classroom. Paul R. Carr asserts that democracy must be cultivated in a vigorous, conscientious, meaningful and critical way in and through education in order for it to have salience in society, especially within a neoliberal conjuncture that promotes limited space for epistemological interrogation of how we understand and are engaged in maintaining and/or transforming our societies. Building on the critical pedagogical work of Paulo Freire, Joe L. Kincheloe, and others, this book develops a framework for understanding how a thicker democratic education can be conceptualized and implemented in schools. The book aims to move the focus on democracy away from voting, and place it more properly on the importance of social justice and political literacy as a way of understanding what democracy is and, importantly, how to make it more relevant for all of society. The book concludes that another democracy is possible, as well as being desirable, and that education is the fundamental intersection in which it must be developed.
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Richard Kahn

We live in a time of unprecedented planetary ecocrisis, one that poses the serious and ongoing threat of mass extinction. What role can critical pedagogy play in the face of such burgeoning catastrophe? Drawing upon a range of theoretical influences – including Paulo Freire, Ivan Illich, Herbert Marcuse, traditional ecological knowledge, and the cognitive praxis produced by today’s grassroots activists in the alter-globalization, animal and earth liberation, and other radical social movements – this book offers the foundations of a philosophy of ecopedagogy for the global north. In so doing, it poses challenges to today’s dominant ecoliteracy paradigms and programs, such as education for sustainable development, while theorizing the needed reconstruction of critical pedagogy itself in light of our presently disastrous ecological conditions. Students and teachers of critical pedagogy at all levels, as well as those involved in environmental studies and various forms of sustainability education, will find this book a powerful provocation to adjust their thinking and practice to better align with those who seek to abolish forms of culture predicated upon planetary extermination and the domination of nature.
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Happiness, Hope, and Despair

Rethinking the Role of Education


Peter Roberts

In the Western world it is usually taken as given that we all want happiness, and our educational arrangements tacitly acknowledge this. Happiness, Hope, and Despair argues, however, that education has an important role to play in deepening our understanding of suffering and despair as well as happiness and joy. Education can be uncomfortable, unpredictable, and unsettling; it can lead to greater uncertainty and unhappiness. Drawing on the work of Søren Kierkegaard, Miguel de Unamuno, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Simone Weil, Paulo Freire, and others, Peter Roberts shows why these features of educational life need not be feared; to the contrary, they can be seen as a source of hope and human fulfilment.
After years of negotiating an education system dominated by the language of competition, performance, and economic advancement, students and teachers often long for something different; they seek not just measurable success but also opportunities to ask searching questions of themselves and the world they encounter. Happiness, Hope, and Despair makes an important contribution toward meeting this need. It fosters a rethinking of the nature, purpose, and value of education, and opens up possibilities for further scholarly and professional inquiry.