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The Dilemma: An Open Or Closed Pedagogy

1875 words - 8 pages

The Dilemma: An Open Or Closed Pedagogy

With lifelong effects, teachers impact the quantity, quality, and overall enjoyment of the educational experience. Their effect dilutes itself the classroom, into present life, and even the future. In the classroom, they mold and guide youth in their lifelong quest to search for the truth and their own voice in the world. Yet their influence does not stop at the classroom door. In fact, teachers have a profound impact on morals, creativity, and even politics. "Teachers always have the power in the class," Christian Zawodniak discusses in , "I'll Have To Help More Of You Than I Want To." They hold the grades and students usually perceive them as holding the knowledge too (Zawodniak 124). But how should a teacher exercise this bestowed power? Is a forced learning environment more beneficial or is a cooperative pedagogy more productive? With diverse students and unique learning needs, it is difficult to identify one or the other as more advantageous. However, I will attempt to explore the benefits and disadvantages of both, as well as how they can be combined or compromised in a delicate balance. Although I will strive to stay neutral and merely present the options, I may also occasionally include my own personal experiences.

Hopefully in a purely unbiased fashion.

Donald Lazere, "Ground Rules For Polemicists," contends that all
Teaching is political and that no human can do anything nonpolitical because we would have to get totally outside ourselves and divorce ourselves of all our interests (Lazere 663). If this statement is true, then teachers are hardly immune and a truly unbiased classroom cannot exist because personal beliefs or opinions are bound to surface sooner or later. So what can occur if a teacher exposes his or her own personal beliefs and opinions in the classroom?

When reading Cheney's, "Alive and Entrenched," I came across a statement whichportrayed one possible effect. The student in the article "quickly discovered that the way to get A's [in a feminist anthropology class] was to write papers full of guilt and angst about how he bought into society's definition of womanhood and now he is enlightened and free."
(Cheney 117) Rather than exploring his own personal ideas concerning the issue, the student was assimilating his ideas, as well as his work, with the teacher's. This had a negative effect because he professed the beliefs as his own and as a result, was rewarded for lying with an A.

In lying for a grade, not only did the student conceal his own personal identity, but also his capability. In essence,the teacher, unknowingly, encouraged and awarded the misrepresentations by
the student. In addition, the student was constricted in his freedom of thought and limited to the pedagogue's. By focusing and limiting his ideas to appeal to the teacher, the student confined any expansionof his own theories. Not only in written work does this adherence occur,...

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