Sunday, November 27, 2016

Shor - Empowering Education

Ira Shor defines "Empowering Education" as "a critical-democratic pedagogy for self and social change" (15). Shor is advocating for education to be more about preparing students for social change and to develop their own opinions about the world, rather than memorize information and recite it back to the teacher. From my own experience in high school, I was taught the value in respecting authority and memorizing what they said and spitting it back out at them for the test. I was never asked to think about society or the way the world works, and I was definitely never asked why I was at school. My high school was a public school with a lot of students who just did not care about school at all, but maybe if we had been given a voice within our own education it might have made a difference. I know that all throughout high school I constantly asked myself why I was being forced to go there day after day, and if only my teachers had taken the time to talk about that with me, I might have felt differently. Shor says, "education can either develop or stifle their inclination to ask why and to learn" (12) and my high school definitely stifled us and never let us question authority.

Shor talks about how teachers need to "challenge the standard syllabus" (12). I have been through class after class, even at Rhode Island College, where the teacher or professor has not once strayed from the syllabus given on the first day. There was no room for students to add anything or to challenge what the professor thought we should be doing every day. Shor explains that you can still stick to your syllabus but allow students to question you or to expand on any part of the syllabus they would like. Talking about things that actually matter to students and that are relevant in their outside lives, makes school much more engaging and worth while.

"Students in empowering classes should be expected to develop skills and knowledge as well as high expectations for themselves, their education, and their future" (Shor 16)

This video posted by DevEd, talks about the importance of relevant education and fits pretty well with the article by Shor 

1 comment:

  1. I was also taught to memorize and then take the test based on the memorization.. great picture with the quote, nice post!