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Kumashiro reflection

swetha's picture

I enjoyed reading Kumashiro's perspective on anti-oppressive education because of the way he repeatedly called for discomfort, and the way he encouraged the need for a space to do so. It was useful that he critiqued his time in the Peace Corps as his first venture into "education," but also into the world of difference and "helping," even though this came so late in his life. I found it interesting that his practice was so reflective of both student/teacher learning but also of teacher/teacher educator learning. i thought it was very useful in critiquing both the K-12 education system, and showing the pitfalls of teacher education/preparation programs. Kumashiro's thoughts on the unintentional teaching happening in the classroom, those subconscious actions and gestures made by teachers and students, were very similar to Ellsworth's (I think) idea of the unconscious and how to actively challenge it. Kumashiro asserts that the unintentional change should almost be made unintentionally, which was a little weirdly juxtaposed with the teacher education lesson of him asking his class to name the various manifestations of sexism in the classroom and separating them in to the explicit and the implicit. He brings up the need to challenge systemic issues like racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, etc. several times in this book, and I wonder how his own identity and experiences in the education system as a student as well as an educator play a role in his framework for building an anti-oppressive classroom. For example, Kumashiro's act of drawing on Buddhist philosopher Thich Nhat Hanh's writings to inform his ideas on the separation of knowledge and reality point to an ability to distance Buddhist philsophy from Buddhist religious practice, which I think is a trivializing and problematic way to view any part of a religion. I wonder if the fact that he talks about oppression so broadly points to a conflation of different experiences of oppression, which, I hope not; however, the application in Chapter 5 of the "queer"ing of education to mean simply the non-normative narrative is ignoring the huge baggage that the word "queer" carries, and almost appropriating it to fit different oppressions.