Education professors open new doors for Memorial
By Heidi Wicks
Three professors from the Faculty of Education have been invited to sit on the Founding Scholars Advisory Board for the Freire International Project for Critical Pedagogy, based out of McGill University. The board consists of a prestigious list of international educators, and the project is dedicated to building an international community which works to promote social justice in a variety of cultural contexts.
Drs. Clar Doyle, Barrie Barrell, and Amarjit Singh are the three Memorial representatives who are heavily involved in this movement to better educate our social and political world.
“Part of what we believe is that educators need to work with what students bring to schooling rather than simply imposing a curriculum that favours some students and not others,” said Dr. Doyle. “Part of the job of critical pedagogy is to raise awareness of inequalities as an initial step to overcoming them. Critical pedagogy claims that curriculum is a form of cultural politics: of course it is. Critical pedagogy places schools in the middle of the social, cultural, historical mix. Critical pedagogy fights against the naive notion that schools are neutral sites where all are equal. As far as critical pedagogy is concerned, difference is seen as absolutely central and it is necessary to put such difference inside the curriculum.”
All three professors have been involved with critical pedagogy for several years, and have all published their writings on the subject internationally. As members of the Founding Scholars Advisory Board, they are in the company of internationally-recognized intellectuals such as Henry Giroux, Augusto Boal, Deborah Britzman, Norman Denzin, Edmund O’Sullivan, Ira Shor, John Willinsky and Philip Wexler.
Dr. Giroux is a founding member of the Freire Project, and his studies indicate that schools need to identify what they intend to teach, and what they actually teach, according to Dr. Doyle, who adds that part of the critical pedagogy agenda is to shed needed light on the processes of schooling.
“Pedagogy has much to do with identification and identity, society and culture, history and economics. It also has to do with politics,” said Dr. Doyle.
Dr. Doyle admitted that this project is an important step for the research at Memorial – both in education and for the university as a whole.
“The Freire International Project for Critical Pedagogy is a vital and thriving place,” explained Dr. Doyle, adding that it is also a model for what can be achieved in Memorial’s Faculty of Education. “We can be thinking about establishing a Centre of Critical Pedagogy in our faculty. Our job is to create conditions or context in which a variety of people get inspired, motivated, ambitious, hopeful, creative and expect themselves to achieve their desired goals. We now have good grant facilitators in our faculty, and with an interest from critical faculty members and vital graduate students, it seems there is a context in our faculty for establishing a Center for Critical Pedagogy.”