Using Critical Praxis and Activism to Create Uncomfortable Spaces
The contribution formal education could and, indeed, should make to social betterment has been widely described, theorized, and urged upon those who would teach for at least the past 150 years. I encourage all of my students— undergraduate and postgraduate alike—to read George Counts’ (1932) Dare the School Build a New Social Order?, for example. Academic libraries are filled [thankfully] with the literature of critical pedagogy, radical education, feminist teaching, anarchist approaches, public pedagogy, and the like. If the university library to which I have easiest access is anything to go by, many of these volumes seem to be heavily used. One can only hope the intended inspiration to act that has presumably underpinned the work of these many authors has been ignited in those who have read, grappled with, argued against, and embraced [one hopes] the arguments and imperatives captured by theorists in the field.
One of the criticisms of much of the broadly described critical pedagogy literature is that it is very much theory-dense and practice-thin: that it is eloquent, if sometimes ponderous, in its description, diagnosis and directives regarding social change through alliances of educators, students, parents and the community as a whole, but that it leaves the question of How? to local consideration, development and deployment. What Sherilyn has succeeded with in this valuable addition to this library of liberatory, emancipatory, ← xiii | xiv → disruptive and unsettling texts is to show how an avid reader of these works has in fact been...
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