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Dialogue Reflections: Class, Learning, Culture

HannahB's picture

I’m coming away from reading Friere’s and Shor’s A Pedagogy for Liberation with three central themes I’d like to discuss further:

1)      I thought the acknowledgement that “The right to have a small discussion begins as a class privilege” (p. 98) was really interesting, and sadly often true. The authors discussed this reality in terms of resources, ability to have small class sizes, etc. but I think this pedagogical reality is also a function of the false (or what I view to be false) notion that students have to “learn the basics first,” before they can converse and have rich, meaningful dialogues. I’d like to further discuss how this emphasis on promoting dialogue in the classroom can be used draw students in and engage them while also learning content and skills, as opposed to only coming as a privilege, after the fact.


2)      I appreciated the concept that dialogue prompts the teacher to also engage in continuous learning: “Dialogue is the sealing together of the teacher and the student in the joint act of knowing and re-knowing the object of study” (p. 100). I agree that through dialogue, the teacher can learn just as much from as they teach to students—if done well. But I do wonder, is this a guarantee? Can a teacher successfully promote dialogue without being open to learning themselves? What are the implications of this?


3)      I’m still concerned with the relation between culture and dialogue. For example, I thought the point that only some people view empowerment as student-directed, independent learning to be important. I worry that preconceived, cultural conceptions of dialogue could be limiting to its potentials and presumptuous about students’ relations to the work. I’d like to problematize this more.