HSSSJE 1461: Paulo Freire: Philosophy and Pedagogy, Critique, and Possibilities

Without any doubt Paulo Freire is considered as the most prominent philosopher of education and educator since John Dewey. His work and actions have influenced educational thought and practice in all parts of the world. This seminar focuses on aspects of his work, how it has been received and critiqued, and how it has been modified and applied. The seminar will be divided into three parts:

  • A critical examination of two of Freire’s major texts: Pedagogy of the Oppressed (his first major work) and Pedagogy of Freedom (his last major work) with a focus on the interconnection between epistemology, ethics, politics and pedagogy, and his criticism of neoliberalism.
  • A critical examination of the major criticisms of his work: rationalist epistemology; lack of emphasis on race and gender; lack of consideration of ecological issues and Eastern thinking; limits of critical pedagogy; lack of consideration of the psychological components of liberation; his understanding of history.
  • A critical examination of the application of his work. Notwithstanding criticisms, his work has been utilized in various areas and fields (pedagogy, science education, higher education, educational administration and leadership, spirituality and inter-faith, peace education, literacy, research, activism , engagement of ‘alienated youth’, health education)as well as modified to several contexts in various parts of the world.

The purpose of this seminar is to introduce students to the major concepts in Freire’s work, some of the major critiques of his thinking, as well as the possibility of the application of his work to a variety of contemporary contexts. Following Freire’s major insight the seminar will focus on understanding, critical examination, and possibilities adopting a dialogical format of inquiry. 

LHAE 3055: Democratic Values, Student Engagement, and Critical Leadership 

An examination and application of democratic values to issues of student engagement and leadership. The course will explore the relationship between student engagement and critical-democratic leadership, and the implications that emerge for educational administration and curriculum from the nature of this relationship. This course should be of interest to both teachers and administrators.

The course offers a critical examination of the notions of ‘democratic values’, ‘student engagement’ and ‘democratic leadership’ and the relationships among them.  It also applies democratic values (e.g., open-mindedness, dialogue and discussion, participation in decision making, consciousness raising and empowerment, and respecting difference) to the context of student engagement and educational leadership. What conceptions of student engagement and leadership are consistent with the notion of democratic values? What conceptions of student engagement and leadership are most worthwhile? What practices, conditions and policies support such forms of student engagement and leadership? The answers to these kinds of questions will then be applied to the context of educational administration and curriculum. What role should/can an administrator play in supporting student engagement? What kind of community should/can a school develop? How can an administrator support the kind of curriculum (for e.g. one that takes the curriculum of life and controversial issues seriously) that connects student engagement with democratic values? What practices are conducive to and consistent with democratic leadership?

HSSSJE 1024: Critical Conversations: Philosophy, Educational Administration and Policy.

A philosophical inquiry of selected issues that arise in educational administration and policy studies. Issues include: Nature of philosophy, educational administration and policy studies; conceptions of education and critical thinking; democracy, pluralism, and controversial issues; indoctrination and parents and students rights; standards and accountability; policy and equity issues; and outcomes based learning and policy. Case studies will be used to encourage students apply differing philosophical stances to practical situations.

LHAE1019: Diversity and the Ethics of Educational Administration

Administration in education and teachers are continually asked to decide on matters of equity, to adjudicate between conflicting value positions, and to accommodate different rights and human interests in their planning. This course will study various ethical schools of thought and modern approaches to social justice. It will apply that content to administrative practice in education. Particular attention will be given to equity issues in areas of race, culture, gender, age, social class, national origin, language, ancestry, sexual orientation, citizenship, and physical or mental abilities.

HSSSJE 1471:  Critical Issues: Philosophical Perspectives

This course examines philosophical dimensions of contemporary critical issues in educational practice. Issues selected vary with each session (examples are: standardization and a common curriculum; critical thinking and teaching common schooling and school choice; teacher testing and professional learning; high-stakes testing; and controversial issues in the classroom). The aim is to integrate our understanding of these issues as they are being played out in practice and uncover and analyze some of the underlying philosophical questions and stances.

HSSSJE 1438: Democratic Approaches to Pedagogy

This seminar explores the theoretical and practical aspects of democratic approaches to pedagogy by critically discussing selected writings of some of the major 20th century philosophers of education and educationists (for e.g., John Dewey, Paulo Freire, Maxine Greene, bell hooks, Carole Pateman, Iris Marion Young, Chantal Mouffe, and Kathleen Weiler), as well as some contemporary educational issues as they relate to democracy. An approach to pedagogy is broader than a method. It includes a consideration of the following: the role of the teacher; a conception of teaching and learning; the relationship between teachers, students, administrators, and community; a conception of curriculum and what guides the curriculum (formal, lived, and hidden); purposes of schooling and education; suitable political arrangements in education (authority, decision making etc); and methods of teaching. Although the approaches to pedagogy proposed by these authors are not identical, they have a common element: they all espouse participatory democratic beliefs and values.

HSSSJE 1433: Freedom and Authority in Education

This course focuses on the tension between freedom and authority as it affects both education and society at large. Philosophical theories of freedom and authority provide a context for examining the competing claims of libertarians (or progressivists) and authoritarians in education. The course provides students with the opportunity to: (a)  clarify the concepts of freedom and authority in the context of education; (b) critically examine the underlying beliefs and educational implications of different stances regarding freedom and authority in education; and (c) formulate their views and reasons for them with regard to the role of freedom and authority in education. These objectives will be achieved by discussing selections from 20th century and contemporary philosophers of education (for e.g., A.S. Neill, Bertrand Russell, John Dewey, Paulo Freire, Kathleen B. Jones, Nicholas Burbules, Barbara Applebaum, Kathryn Morgan, and Frances Maher) as well as case studies.

LHAE 1029: Interculturalism and Critical Democracy in Education:  Issues of Globalization and Neoliberalism.

The purpose of this course is to critically explore the different conceptions of interculturalism and democracy, as well as the relationship between the two within the context of globalization and neoliberalism. Questions to be examined include: What conceptions of interculturalism are consistent with critical democracy? What are the contradictions and constraints that globalization and neoliberalism create for genuine interculturalism and critical democracy? What is the role of intercultural dialogue? What are some implications and possibilities of interculturalism and critical democracy in educational practice, policy and leadership? The course will have a theoretical as well as a practical aspect.  The analytical part will be based both on questions concerning democracy, globalization and neoliberalism and also on the epistemological and semantic clarifications and historical development of the concept of “intercultural education.” The practical part will give the students the opportunity to learn and experience models of intercultural competences in the field of leadership including dealing with conflicts in a multicultural society.

The course will have practical as well as analytic goals.  The underlying premise is that if students are aware of both the main challenges and risk related with globalization and interdependence, as well as the best educational answers, they will have a greater capacity to assume leadership roles that recognize and handle conflicts in multicultural societies. Using cases such as conflict prevention and complex humanitarian interventions as the context, the course will analyze both the imperatives to introduce new technologies and the sources of bureaucratic and cultural resistance against their introduction.