What I’m learning; Education Change

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Freedom Alonephoto byBy Martin Burns

“It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.” The Declaration of Arbroath 1320

What I’m Learning: Education Change

Some of them walked in to my class last June and they will continue on until March. Others walked in a mere 15 weeks ago and yesterday they walked out of class for the last time.

Over the next week I will be sharing what I am learning about education as a practice of freedom and what I am learning about becoming a liberating educator, leader.

For most of my life, like you I’ve been shaped by top down, power based leaders and teachers. Those hell bent converts to the banking concept of life and education. The individuals who view all humans as mere receptacles to be filled, controlled and managed. Oppressors in the culturally acceptable kind of way. In developed nations we call these people leaders…

But any person; leader or teacher who oppresses, who reinforce the false belief that individuals are ‘being for others’ are in fact human extinguishers. They extinguish what God intended men and women to be and to become; fully human.

Freedomphoto by By Dazzie D

Paulo Freire defined liberating education as that which transforms structures so that individuals who were once ‘beings for others’ can become ‘beings for themselves.’

When I first read Freire’s words, ‘beings for others’ they immediately resonated with me. This idea that the student, employee, member is a being for another…well I’ve experienced it and I’m sure you have. Any time people are treated as automans to be programmed, filled or controlled dehumanization occurs.

We need to lose the banking concept in education and leadership. People are not receptacles to be filled. They are living, breathing, conscious humans; evidence of the glory of GOD , capable of the miraculous.

And so this semester I pressed into my own praxis. Through reflection and action I worked to transform the model that strangles education, learning, knowing and becoming and I worked to create change in my own way of being, leading and teaching.

I developed curriculum and created learning communities structured around liberation and dialogue. My goal was to capture the heart and soul of each student. To fully engage them at the deepest level. I wanted praxis for each of them and so I gave up control of the content, admitted I did not have all the answers and instead of bringing all the answers concerned myself with architecting the structures and facilitating the process for individual transformation. Daily I showed up as student- teacher as well as teacher-student. I worked hard to engage the teacher-student within every student. I destroyed all structures that dis-empowered and disengaged and daily I used dialogue as the means to knowing and the path to understanding.

Again and again, the students would forget they were also teachers. Again and again I would attempt to answer a question that was better answered by them. Again and again they sought the ‘right’ answer…the answer I was looking for. Again and again I reminded them that silence as reflection was acceptable, non -engagement was not.

Here are a few of the comments my students left in an anonymous survey I posted online. I will be sharing more examples of their work and insights over the week!

I think it helped me realize what I was capable of and made me really think for myself. If I’m being really honest, this was one of the few classes in college that accomplished this for me.

Thank you for not limiting your students and really believing in us. I hope that you find fulfillment in teaching as I do in learning!

The class has offered very applicable knowledge which helped me tremendously in my career endeavor as a marketer in such a time like this. However, I personally have felt quite pressure in regard to the completion of my homework, which in fact, has reduced my learning enthusiasm and my desire to finish my work.

I loved being able to do the different tactics and being able to create our own word press blog. I am a kinesthetic learner and learn best by “doing”

I like that the class was set up in way that created an atmosphere that promoted learning and “thinking for yourself” rather than memorizing things from a textbook.

I liked sharing ideas with everyone (by talking about our individual plans / tactics / etc)

What I’m learning is that education is a practice of freedom and I’m far from where I want to be in regards to being a liberator of souls, hearts and minds. But I’m learning…

Pam Hoelzle

learn more about me here

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