Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and a Revolutionary Praxis for Education, Part I

Age of Revolutions

By Kevin Gannon

Educational theory and practice has always been a contested terrain, even if many of the practitioners in these fields deny that controversies bubble beneath their work’s placid surface. In the mid-twentieth-century United States, much of the pedagogical approach and institutional structure of secondary and higher education was shaped by Cold War culture, by the imperatives of consensus ideology, and its emphasis on a pragmatic and utilitarian approach to educational outcomes. Much of the curriculum in which students and teachers operate today is a legacy of this era, perhaps best exemplified by the standard Western Civilization survey that is the bedrock of many a college history department’s course offerings. The demands of US political culture profoundly shaped (and indeed continue to shape) education and educational policy. White resistance to integration and the maintenance of white supremacy, an overweening emphasis on STEM education in the escalating arms and space…

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