Tag Archives: educational alternatives

Critical Pedagogy: One of Many Educational Paths

I was introduced to the educational path known as “Critical Pedagogy” by my fellow Alternative Education Resource Organization member John Harris Loflin, an activist for educational alternatives, particularly for urban, at-risk minority communities. John argues persuasively that a mostly white, privileged, middle-class alternative education movement would be benefited by finding common ground and allying with efforts in urban minority communities to challenge the conventional approach to schooling in those communities. The focus of that challenge is a curriculum, plus methods for teaching and learning known as “Critical Pedagogy”, that is designed to deconstruct the inferior position of the minority community relative to the dominant culture and identify ways to take action to change that power differential.

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An Argument for Many Paths

This is a piece I wrote for Alternative Education Resource Organization magazine last fall that I realized I had never shared on my blog. From my experience with Unitarian-Universalist principles and world-view, there is an argument made that it is important to acknowledge that there are many valid spiritual paths in the world that should be honored inclusively. In this piece, I have applied that idea of “Many Paths” to youth development and education….

From our son Eric’s experience, the experience of many other families and youth we know or have read about, and the sobering statistic that up to 50% of our youth in our big city public school districts (including our son Eric) are not graduating from high school, I have come to the conclusion that the ubiquitous, “one size fits all” conventional instructional school does not, and cannot work for every youth, no matter how fully it is funded or how much it is “reformed”. Yet I have talked to plenty of youth who go to conventional schools, do very well, and enjoy going to school each day. I have attended John Lofton’s excellent workshops at AERO conferences where he makes a compelling case that many people in the African-American community believe strongly in the conventional instructional school, if fairly resourced, to be the best shot for their youth to have a chance to succeed. Continue reading →