The Perspectives of Today’s Education
Using what we have learned in the course, we intend to write an essay on the perspectives of today’s education. For instance, we aim to use Richard Rodriguez insights regarding culture; and cultural education; Freire’s concepts of education, and Carson’s prose, laced with other sources, to create an idea of what is education today. To introduce our work, we shall explain our specific position on the theme, and speak how those essays relate to modern issues. Then, we shall discuss how those essays offer us some perspectives on today’s education. Last, we aim to offer a picture on how those essays can be used in teaching.
Richard Rodriguez, and the Multicultural Education. In “The Achievement of Desire” of Richard Rodriguez is a story within a story. The author uses a literary device to separate himself from the person depicted in the story. At the beginning of the story, he sees in the eyes of a fourteen-year-old girl the young student he once was. The girl’s eyes shining with ambition, the attentive ears, listening to every word. He, as the girl, used to be the only person attentive in his classroom. After that reflection, he starts his story. Rodriguez was born in a Mexican family, a family that remained closely tied to their Mexican heritage. On the other hand, Richard’s ambition regarding learning separated him from his roots. His parent’s language was Spanish, but as soon as he entered the school, his became English. That was the first of many barriers that imposed between him, and his parents. The school was what started the drifting between Rodriguez and his family. As he imitated his teachers, they became his role models, and his Spanish accent started to disappear. Rodriguez’s attraction to the teachers and the teacher’s lives was so grand that he even told his parents he wanted to become a teacher.
However, Rodriguez admits that his willing to become a teacher appeared when he understood that he wanted to assume the teacher’s persona “I began by imitating their accents, using their diction, trusting their every direction.” (Rodriguez 198). However, he did not want to become a teacher, he just wanted to be like the teachers he idolized. In those moments, he felt like a strange when he was at home. He felt stranded, and he started communicating more with his classmates than with his family members. Rodriguez despised his parents, and his family as they did not resemble anything he liked. Rodriguez lived in two worlds, a world where he had to trust his instincts, and the other when he had to think before acting.
Between his parents and him, there was no longer a conversation. But both of him parents wanted him to succeed. Both wanted him to become better than they were, as a way of familiar improvement. Once that the gap widened, he found books as the only solace. Richard Rodriguez, a man with an Indian face, a Spanish surname, and an Anglo name. He did not decide to become an American or leave his Mexican heritage. Rodriguez had to choose between his Mexican heritage and his American academic experience. His recounts are those of a man who is pulled in both ways, a man who tried to stand in two worlds until the academic world seduced him. However, he understood what he had lost, and in the end, returned to his family without leaving what he had accomplished. He fulfilled the circle
Implications of the book to the Modern Education. Being a native Spanish speaker, Rodriguez has a rather interesting point concerning bilingual education, and how are languages learned or taught. Rodriguez considers that bilingual education, instead of being an advantage to students is only a political whim of middle-class Hispanic people. The author also considers that the language is learned as it is used, not only by lessons in a school. The same happens with people’s cultural heritage. Schools are keen in respecting other cultures in the United States, and aim to teach students about their cultures in the classroom. To Rodriguez, this cannot happen, as it is the role of the schools to regularize their students, to make them part of the academic American culture.
On the other hand, it is the role of the families to remember their children that they belong to a culture. In Richard’s case, his grandmother used to tell him that he was hers, that he was Mexican (Rodriguez 459). To Richard Rodriguez, bilingual education is not possible, as it would mean that integration and separation had to merge, and it is impossible to merge two completely different goals into the same thing. To integrate people from completely different cultures into American society, it would mean to leave them feeling as outsiders, something that Richard Rodriguez knows far too well.
Paulo Freire Concept of Banking Education. In his book, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, Freire created the “Banking Concept of Education. Freire believes that there is a disorder between the teachers and their students. It is “banking” because the classic concept of educations sees students as mere deposits of information, unlike the new methods who see students are active parts of their education process. The problem can be solved with liberating educational practices. Freire’s educational practices highlight the importance of the students’ own responsibility for understanding the classes. However, this does not take the responsibility from the teacher’s shoulders. On the contrary, the teacher must adapt to his students because if the content is un-relatable, there is not a possibility for learning to occur. Instead of communicating, the teacher gives, and the students are only passive receptors. Banking means that the students are only deposits, deposits that are filled with information that is eventually stored. (Freire 72). They learn it is true, but they only learn as librarians would. Cataloging knowledge without analyzing it. This destroys creativity, thus, students cannot be truly human.
The only way to liberate the minds of the students is through invention, reinvention, and continuing inquiry. To Freire, banking imposes a schism between the students, and the real world. To Freire, regular education turns people into objects, objects that have no autonomy, and cannot rationalize, nor conceptualize what they learn (Freire 72). The only way to escape from the dehumanization is through the “problem-posing education”, an approach where the roles of students and teachers become less structured, and both engage in a dialectic process, enriching each other.
Implications of the book to the Modern Education. Freire’s work is critical in the modern education. Freire’s educational method is founded on the notions of creating consciousness and dialog. Freire considers that when teaching adults, it is important to teach them how to write and read in relation with the awakening of their consciousness, and the social reality. This shows a clear leaning toward the liberal educational philosophy. To develop a conscious is to Freire, the main goal in the learning process, but only if we understand consciousness as a tool to transform our reality. (Nyerenda 5).
To Freire, conscientization is the only way we have to transform our social reality. Having read that, we can only think of Freire as a progressive educator who uses teaching as a tool to transform the reality, in order to restructure society. Conscientization assumes that we are all the same, and we all have the right to be educated in our knowledge, and in their cultural realities that lead them to transform society. If people are capable of engaging in critical dialogs, even if they are illiterate, they have achieved the conscientization. However, conscientization is a personal process that all individuals have to do in order to change the reality they live, as a person who does not at least try to transform and question their reality, is not human.
Anne Carson’s Short Talks. Unlike the works we have previously described, to describe Anne Carson’s corpus would be hard, as she is an accomplished poet and essayist that has written about a myriad of topics. However, what is the author referring to when she says “short talk”. Could it be an aphorism; a riddle, or a poem? To Carson, it might be all of them. Carson poetry and short essays are a way to experience the language.
For instance, in poems such as “On Walking Backwards”, Carson deals with issues such as family, and love. What Carson intends to do is that readers experience language as a substance that keeps its own shape, an organism that adapts to the container –in this case, the poem- (Carr 1), but sometimes it can flow and abandon its container to turn into an organism of its own. Carson is a teacher, as our previous subjects, however, she has not written about education.
On the contrary, she has written about words, and how those words affect us. By using words, Carson knits stories that if we look closely, might have educational value. In the same way, many scholars have discussed the influence of Carson’s academic background on her poetry. If that is the case, Carson’s background gives wealth; texture, and depth to her writing. Nevertheless, the difference between Carson, and many classic poets is that Carson uses a dramatic literary tone that relies in the fragility of her words. Carson has her critics, but it has not stopped her from being one of the most known poets in Canada.
Implications of the Book in the Modern Education. Poetry holds an incredibly important part in education. Despite being a subject hard to teach, at least students can be sensitized on it. In the same way, as it is hard to teach students on how to become artists, it is the same with poetry. Not many students would be poets, but at least they will know, and understand it. In the same way, poetry should have a central piece in our lives, either as teachers or as students. Not only for the aesthetical pleasure of enjoying a poem or a novel, but to the literature’s ability to awaken, and widen our senses.
Poetry and literature connect us with our inner selves, and with others; it entices our imagination and makes us discover new worlds that we could not have though. Literature has the ability to help people synthesize and understand metaphors. Plus, poetry has the ability to say much with few words. That precision in the language is something we need in our lives, as well as we need literature, and art to escape from those truths of life we do not want to look at (Hughes 1).
The Usage of Rodriguez; Freire, and Carson Works in Today’s Education. Education today lacks a focus on the development of the oral language. That is why literature has a big role in the academic life. The sound is meaning, and it by that meaning that we are able to understand the meaning of things. With an education that is more, and more interested in writing, instead of listening, or developing the student’s voice, literature can be a saving grace. However, we have to be careful in how we use literature, and with which means. For instance, if we use it with dull motives, it will become a burden in the school’s curriculum. However, if we use it to enthrall students, and make them realize that there is a huge world outside that can not only be read, but lived. The world of words. That is, somehow, what happened to Richard Rodriguez, he was seduced by words, so much that he was even about to leave his cultural identity behind, to follow the words’ path.
Freire sees literature as a key to breaking a cultural code that has been a mystery to the marginal part of the population. To Freire, if we are capable to teach literature to those who have been culturally, and economically margined. We would be enabling them culturally, and by culturally enabling them, we mean to give them competency to address to their lives, and begin the transformation that, according to Freire, comes with education. Besides, there is much more in literature than simply the words, and their potential. In literature, we see culture, and began to learn, and recognize the culture that surrounds us, by reading, we began to culture, hence, to grow.
We can show to process proposed by Freire (Finlay & Smith 4), using Richard Rodriguez as a model. For instance, to Freire the first part of the acculturation process, is speech. Richard began to imitate their teachers and the way they spoke, as a way to learn what he perceived as a different culture. Second, reading and writing. By being capable of reading, and writing, one is able to submerge in the culture, not only by learning the traits associated to it. In the same way, the final moment of acculturation comes when the person is able to reflect on the myths and structures of the culture. We can say for sure that Richard Rodriguez is way passed the process of acculturation and sits comfortable between two cultures.
After reviewing this work, we can say that there is no motive for literature and pedagogy to fight each other, as they both are servants of the same master, at least in this context. If we could remove the stigma of literature, and poetry as boring subjects, and enforce programs that bolster the oral expression, we are certain that a substantial change can be made in today’s education. If more people are taught to have critical thinking, countries would surely have better leaders and spokespersons. Besides, it is not a matter of political importance, but social. When we are able to understand that education is not only composed of people quietly sitting in a classroom passively receiving information, today’s education would really turn into tomorrow’s education (Camangian 36)
Camangian, P. “Untempered Tongues: Teaching Performance Poetry for Social Justice.”English Teaching: Practice and Critique 7.7 (2007): 35-55. University of San Francisco. Web. <http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ832207.pdf>..
Carr, E. “Six Short Talks: Reading In, Around, & on (& On) Anne Carson’s “Possessive Used As Drink (Me): A Lecture in the Form of Fifteen Minutes”.” English Studies in Canada 33.4 (2007): 91-101. Web. <https://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/esc_english_studies_in_canada/v033/33.4.carr.pdf>.
Carson, Anne. Plainwater: Essays and Poetry. New York: A.A. Knopf :, 1995. Print.
Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. 30th Anniversary ed. New York: Continuum, 2000. Print.
Finlay, L., and N. Smith. “Literacy or Literature: Making or Consuming Culture?” College Literature 18.2 (1991). Web. <http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/~bump/603B13/Freire.pdf>.
Hughes, J. “Poetry: A Powerful Medium for Literacy and Technology Development.” The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat. 1 Oct. 2007. Web. <http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/literacynumeracy/inspire/research/Hughes.pdf>.
Nyerenda, J. “The Relevance of Paulo Freire’s Contributions to Education and Development in Present Day Africa.” University of Botswana. Web. <http://archive.lib.msu.edu/DMC/African Journals/pdfs/Africa media review/vol10no1/jamr010001002.pdf>.
Rodriguez, Richard. Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez: An Autobiography. Boston, Mass.: D.R. Godine, 1982. Print