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Crafting Critical Stories

Toward Pedagogies and Methodologies of Collaboration, Inclusion, and Voice

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Edited By Judith Flores-Carmona and Kristen V. Luschen

Critical storytelling, a rich form of culturally relevant, critical pedagogy, has gained great urgency in a world of standardization. Crafting Critical Stories asks how social justice scholars and educators narrate, craft, and explore critical stories as a tool for culturally relevant, critical pedagogy. From the elementary to college classroom, this anthology explores how different genres of critical storytelling – oral history, digital storytelling, testimonio, and critical family history – have been used to examine structures of oppression and to illuminate counter-narratives written with and by members of marginalized communities. The book highlights the complexity of culturally relevant, social justice education as pedagogues across the fields of education, sociology, communications, ethnic studies, and history grapple with the complexities of representation, methodology, and the meaning/impact of employing critical storytelling tools in the classroom and community.
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5. A Student-Teacher Testimonio: Reflexivity, Empathy, and Pedagogy

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In this chapter, we employ self-reflexivity as a crucial element to our pedagogical practices in a testimonios course taught at a predominantly White campus. We look back at our participation in the course, Testimonio: Chicana and Latina Epistemology and Pedagogy, across two semesters, Fall 2010 and Fall 2011. During the first offering, we were involved as student (Aymee) and teacher (Judith), but shifted to coteachers in the subsequent semester. This course was taught at a small, private, liberal arts college in New England. In the course, we asked students to become critically conscious, to achieve conscientization, or what pedagogue Freire referred to as conscientização. This concept, developed by Brazilian pedagogue and educational theorist, Paulo Freire, and grounded in Marxist critical theory, focuses on achieving an in-depth understanding of the world. Grounded in the philosophy that individuals have “the right to say his or her own word, to name the world” (Freire, 1995, p. 15), as educators our purpose is to make it “possible for people to enter the historical process as responsible Subjects” in order to achieve conscientização (Freire, 1995, p. 18). Rarely, however, do we as educators move toward this conscientization and “new awareness,” not only of our pedagogical practices, but also an awareness of “self.” Critical consciousness also includes taking action against the oppressive elements in one’s life that are illuminated by that understanding. In our course, the reading and writing, telling and sharing of testimonios challenged the facilitators to reflect on the potential for our...

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