Revolution Lullabye

May 23, 2011

Stenberg, Liberation Theology and Liberatory Pedagogies

Stenberg, Shari J. “Liberation Theology and Liberatory Pedagogies: Renewing the Dialogue.” College English 68.3 (January 2006): 271-290.

In order to pursue the goals of liberatory pedagogy, academics and teachers need to more fully understand its connection to liberation theology and the religious values, traditions, and ideas that underscore the pedagogy. Critical pedagogy, Stenberg contends, has split the connection between faith and politics that forms the foundation of liberatory pedagogy, part of a larger historical trend in US higher education. Students’ religious literacies may serve as points of departure, inquiry, and as resources for their thinking and writing.

Notes and Quotes

 “If we are to truly start where students are, it makes sense to discover ways to value and build upon students’ faith-based knowledge, rather than asking them to overcome these backgrounds.” (272)

Idea (based in Exodus) that God is on the side of the oppressed – taken up by Latin American Catholics who were being colonized by Europeans

“Liberation theologians that humans abide by free will and are responsible to work with God to create a just and equitable world” (273)

“What is the cost of a pedagogy of dismissal?” (283)

Compassion as a root in the prophetic tradition (where liberatory theology comes out of)

Community and solidarity – working together for justice – are themes in liberatory theology, commitment to other people in a God-like love

Liberatory pedagogy requires praxis: action and reflection, no distinction between theory and practice, ongoing, continual work

Need to treat faith as knowledge – not as an impediment for students to “get over” – need to make room for the possibility of religious discourse

How to treat religious belief as inquiry – not as dogma…linking intellectualism and faith

“Too often, missing in the discourse of critical pedagogy is reflection on the effects of our hands. How do we use them not only to challenge, but also to support? Not only to critique, but also to validate? Not only to deconstruct, but also to reconstruct?

The prophetic tradition of liberation theology offers us visions that may not only enrich our understanding of critical pedagogy, but may also help us enact it more fully. To place these traditions back in dialogue is not to espouse theology in the critical classroom, it is to return to roots that might better allow us to realize the goals of liberatory education: valuing student knowledge, enacting a reciprocal teacher-student relationship, enriching critique with both compassion and action, and participating in ongoing reflection and revision. And these goals, to my mind, represent a pedagogy that is truly critical.” (288-289).

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Micciche, Making a Case for Rhetorical Grammar

Micciche,  Laura. “Making a Case for Rhetorical Grammar.” CCC 55.4 (June 2004): 716-737.

Micciche argues that teaching grammar rhetorically prepares students to be effective rhetoricians and communicators, and that explicitly teaching students how language functions and constructs realities is in lines with the goals of liberating education. Micciche breaks down the binary between formal, overt grammatical instruction and inventive thinking and composing, arguing that grammar should not be a consideration for the final draft but one that spurs thinking and writing. Rhetorical grammar leads to questioning relationships between people and ideas and the cultural and ideological foundations upon which knowledge is made.

Micciche used Kolln’s Rhetorical Grammar and Crowley’s Ancient Rhetoric for Contemporary Students as anchor texts to teach her students rhetorical grammar.

Notes and Quotes

Rhetorical grammar underscores the purposeful use of language – that people’s grammatical choices do make a difference.

A closeness to language

“The chief reason for teaching rhetorical grammar in writing classes is that doing so is central to teaching thinking. The ability to develop sentences and form paragraphs that serve a particular purpose requires a conceptual ability to envision relationships between ideas. Such relationships involve processes of identification with an imagined or real reader and reflection on the way our language invites and/or alienates readers. The grammatical choices we make, including pronoun use, active or passive verb constructions, and sentence patterns- represent relations between writers and the world they live in. Word choice and sentence structure are an expression of the way we attend to the words of others, the way we position ourselves in relation to others. In this sense, writing involves cognitive skills at the level of idea development and at the sentence level. How we put our ideas into words and comprehensible forms is a dynamic process rather than one with clear boundaries between what we say and how we say it.” (719)

“When we broaden the goals of rhetorical grammar, it’s possible to see how the intimate study of language it encourages has enormous potential for studying language as central to constructions of identity and culture.” (721)

Sentence-level choices give clues to an author’s ideas about power, identity, culture

Pedagogy, commonplace books: “My course is based on the assumption that learning how to use grammar to best effect requires lots of practice and a good deal of exposure to varied writing styles. To this end, students maintain a commonplace book throughout the semester in which they imitate and record passages of their own choosing.” (723-724) Gives students the opportunity to reflect on the relationship between how something is said and what is said and also gives them the chance to practice identifying and using grammatical terms and structures. – gives students a framework and vocabulary

Ignatian Pedagogy A Practical Approach

International Commission on the Apostolate of Jesuit Education. “Ignatian Pedagogy: A Practical Approach.”

The goal of this whitepaper is to make the 1986 document The Characteristics of Jesuit Education more usable for teachers,  more attuned to daily pedagogical practices. It is meant to be a flexible document, one that should be adopted to local cultures and constraints and infused into existing curriculum. The paper defines Ignatian pedagogy and explains the goals of Jesuit education, the role of the student-teacher relationship, the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm, and the challenges of implementing Ignatian pedagogy.

The Ignatian pedagogical paradigm includes these five activities, which, in a Jesuit education, are constantly happening: context (or understanding where the student, the institution is coming from and is located in the larger world), experience (acquiring facts, knowledge, and experience), reflection (seeing the connections between one set of experiences and another – academic or otherwise), action (feeling compelled to move that knowledge towards action), and evaluation (seeing where the student has come and how the students needs to develop further – both in an academic and “whole person” idea.)

Notes and Quotes

The goal of Jesuit education: to form men and women for others, men and women who are challenged to grow as whole persons who will be called to actively serve and lead others. Jesuit education pursues excellence, a commitment to justice, a discerning mind, a belief in the dignity and holiness in all life.

The model in Jesuit education is Christ himself – finding and working towards God’s love in communion with others. Students educated in the Jesuit tradtion are encouraged to move beyond ordinary ways to express their love for each other and their neighbor.

The academic disciplines in Jesuit education have a human centerness: they relate to what it means to be human.

Education that is both intellectual and moral: creating “competent, conscious, and compassionate commitment” (5)

Education in faith and for justice “means helping [students] to understand and appreciate that other people are their richest treasure” (7)

Students in the Ignatian tradition need to be actively pursuing knowledge – need to have the freedom and the drive to acquire knowledge and reflect on it. Teachers are the guides to help students do that, giving them opportunities to engage in all of the activities on the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm, with clear, scaffolded objectives that meet students where they are and lead them to become more. Also the importance of repetition (37-38)

Ignatian pedagogy depends on a close student-teacher relationship, where the teacher forges personal connections with the students.

Has a central concern for the human being in all things.

“To be successful in bringing the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm into regular use in Jesuit schools, members of the International Commission are convinced that staff development programs in each province and school are essential. Teachers need much more than a cognitive introduction to the Paradigm. They require practical training that engages and enables them to reflect on the experience of using these new methods confidently and effectively.” – ongoing professional development that emphasizes reflective practice is key for implementing Ignatian pedagogy.

“And I am personally greatly encouraged by what I sense as a growing desire on the part of many in countries around the globe to pursue more vigorously the ends of Jesuit education which, if properly understood, will lead our students to unity, not fragmentation; to faith, not cynicism; to respect for life, not the raping of our planet; to responsible action based on moral judgement, not to timorous retreat or reckless attack.” (40, Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, “Ignatian Pedagogy Today” 1993).

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