Kumashiro 2

This week Kumashiro talks about a discussion on four proposed ways of learning for students in school.  “Good teachers” and “bad teachers” meaning the student’s empty brain either gets filled with content, or doesn’t (for whatever reason). “Learning in comforting ways”, where students are not seen as blank slates and bring in a whole mess of beliefs, understanding of knowledge, etc, but are allowed to learn what already affirms their previous ideas and disregard those that resisted with them.  The last method is “learning in discomforting ways”.  This involves challenging the knowledge already held by the student, deconstructing, criticizing, and questioning and realizing that their and the schools’ knowledge is only partial requiring further investigation and more uncomfortable work.  This sort of rubs me the wrong way. Kumashiro says many of his students also felt the same.  A school should be a safe, supportive environment, not a place where students have everything tipped on its head resulting in a frowny face (see crude model on p. 25), but I get where he’s coming from.  In order to teach social justice to a point where real awareness, real change, and real action can occur, there may be some uncomfortable feelings along the way.  However, I think teachers need to be sensitive of the level of discomfort they stir up.  They can easily turn students off and may lose them completely.  But then if you tip toe around issues, I can see less chance for successful transformational teaching.  Still thinking about this one.

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