Critical Pedagogy

Despite the vast importance I placed on my own education, the time I spent in school was not universally pleasant. Statistically speaking, it was more bad than good. This led me to ponder the true nature of schooling, interrogating what caused it to take this most particular form. Accordingly, I slowly accrued this collection of items, all done in search of those specific frayed leads.

I will admit, I am no educator, and thus have no formal expertise in this topic. I simply wished to give some manner of voice to the discontents my younger self had with the circumstances he was thrust into. Why was there such a rush to force me and so many others into post-secondary schooling? Why did it do so with vague promises of material wealth done through continual practices of delayed gratification, only to immediately renege on all such things when the academic calendar ran out and the economic crisis ran in? How can the capitalist system rely on such an all-important institution for research and scientific advancement, while also being entirely disconnected from the market machinations which define it? Why must the young be subject to all these limitations to their thoughts and freedoms, and for what in return? If this education is done supposedly for my own benefit, but in my ignorance I cannot see how or cannot immediately act upon it, then by what standard would I know if that benefit really is mine? These were some few of the questions my once-student self wondered about, in his darker moments.

Public education is the one time in all of our lives when we truly live convivially with the fellow countrymen of our nation state, before we’re wedged apart by the petty differences that come with age. That alone is what makes it worth thinking about. And yet...

This is its beauty,
But also its curse,
For when it goes wrong,
It stings all the worse.

... however, I would soon find out that the label of “critical pedagogy” I had given this was already claimed by something else, so maybe I was approaching it wrong this entire time. Perhaps what I was really after was the “sociology of education,” though putting it that way seems a bit off from what my younger self may have had in mind. (This can be the exact trouble one runs into when trying to investigate things that began as little more than dark suspicions and vague feelings.)



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