Brain, Education, and Inquiry - Fall, 2010: Session 9B
Facilitated by LinKai_Jiang
Discussion of excerpts from Chapter 2 of Pedagogy of Freedom by Paolo Freire
Summary of class session (linkai)
One major concern that came out of the discussion is how well can a text engage the reader and establish a relationship with the multiple populations in the community assumed and invited by the text. The medium of the text affects how people interact with and through it. The means for producing and publishing texts has became so democratized, perhaps to the detriment of the overall quality. It is very easy for many people to publish something on the web without rigorous review or editing. The advance of technology has also met some resistance from people who disapprove its aesthetics. No electronics can replace the beauty of reading a paper book while inclined on a couch. But why is paper book the golden standard for the aesthetic judgment? What if Kindle came before the paper book? We might be reminiscing the glowing beauty of the screen and the smoothness of its case. After all, our aesthetic judgment is influenced by the social reality we are born into and the space for imagination limited by that social reality. The stylistic elements of the text also influence people's engagement with the text, although the response is not universal. Some prefer the objectivity of the third person voice; some enjoy the intimacy of the first person voice; some do not care as long as the text speaks about something that matters.
Summary of class session (paul)
Starting with some quotations from Friere about texts and reading, lots of active discussion ensued, with Linkai assuring everyone was heard. While the discussion moved more toward the nature of writing itself and the impact of contemporary technology on reading, I found myself wanting to think more about the parallels between Friere's text/reading discussion and the classroom, where teachers present things (texts but not only texts) that students sometimes find more interesting/engaging and other times less so. The general notion, if I'm interpreting Freire correctly, is that interesting/engaging means something that one can onself contribute to the interpretation of .... something whose primary purpose is not to inform but rather to initiate response, bidirectional interaction. And interesting extension of this is the possibility that the act of creating text, of printing, itself lessens the possibility of engaged interaction, co-constructive inquiry. Thomas King, in his Truth About Stories, talks about the difference between American Indian stories (in print) and American Indian story telling, an oral tradition in which the story teller modifies the stories to fit the circumstances and the stories are constantly changed by the circumstances. Maybe the problems of education began with the printing press?
Your continuing thoughts about this and its relation to the classroom in the forum below ....