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Urban Education And Critical Pedagogy Essay

1018 words - 4 pages

In a broad sense, the field of social foundations of education entails beliefs and values in school and society, the political economy in schools and society, and the culture of the school. There are a magnitude of social forces that affect educational policies on a daily basis such as; government, religion, family and the economy. Each of these social structures influences one another which results in many conflicts in regards to a “democratic education.” The social foundations of education do not meet the criteria of a democratic education because of certain laws or rules that are established. For example, the delegation of funds in schools is solely based on the property taxes of a specific community. Therefore, the schools in poor communities receive less funding than the schools in wealthy areas. When young people have no say in the regulations that they are bound by, then they cannot be said to live in a democratic environment or understand what it truly means to be “democratically educated.”
Henry Giroux, however, believes in a “transformative education.” “Transformative intellectuals are aware of their own theoretical convictions and are skilled in strategies for translating them into practice (Giroux, 1991).” In other words, Giroux believes that all teachers need to hold an “active role in shaping the curriculum” and be able to exercise their power or beliefs in teaching (Giroux, 1991). Likewise, Giroux discusses transformative education as a form of pedagogy which is always associated with power (Giroux, 1991). Giroux believes that critical pedagogy plays a role in transformative education. Giroux’s interpretation of critical pedagogy was shaped from the philosopher Paula Freire whose focus was on the student’s abilities to think critically about their educational situation (Freire, 2000). Critical Pedagogy is a philosophy of education that emphasizes on the importance of teaching students how to become critical thinkers and how to strive for social justice in a democracy. Critical pedagogy also entails that teacher and the student’s knowledge and power are shared in a classroom setting (Freire, 2000). According to Giroux, teachers have a responsibility to educate critical citizens (Giroux, 1991). Based on this information, transformative education and critical pedagogy go hand in hand. One must understand that there is not one way of teaching and that teachers should share their power and knowledge with the students. In relation to a democratic education, Giroux believes that, “Educators have a public responsibility that by its very nature involves them in the struggle for democracy (Giroux,1991).”
A belief that education is for a democracy is one that philosopher John Dewey holds. Dewey believes that, “education must begin with a psychological insight into the child’s capacities, interests and habits (Dewey, 1897).” Much of his beliefs were stemmed off of, “organic learning,” which occurs when children naturally interact with...

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