I’ve only recently tripped over the work of Cassie Earl, who works in the Centre for Educational Research and Development at the University of Lincoln. She is committed passionately to the idea of popular education, to the continuing creation of a critical pedagogy. Although this chapter is focused on schooling it needs little imagination to relate its argument to the world of youth work. Indeed Cassie does quote from Jeffs and Smith – enough said.
To entice you here are a couple of quotations:
Leaning on Holloway she cites the story of a group of teachers in Puebla, New Mexico.
“The government announced in 2008 the creation of a new scheme to improve the quality of education by imposing greater individualism, stronger competition between students, stricter measurement of the outputs of teachers, and so on, the teachers said, ‘no, we will not accept it.’ When the government refused to listen, the dissident teachers moved beyond their mere refusal and, in consultation with thousands of students and parents, elaborated their own proposal for improving the quality of education by promoting greater cooperation between students, more emphasis on critical thinking, preparation for cooperative work not directly subordinate to capital, and began to explore ways of implementing their scheme in opposition to state guidelines, by taking control of the schools. Here too the initial refusal begins to open towards something else, towards an educational activity that not only resists but breaks with the logic of capital”
and, given youth work’s supposed allegiance to Freire, she quotes,
“to be in the world without making history, without being made by it, without creating culture, without a sensibility towards ones own presence in the world, without a dream, without a song, music, or painting, without caring for the earth or the water, without using one’s hands, without sculpting or philosophising, without any opinion about the world, without doing science or theology, without awe in the face of mystery, without learning, instruction, teaching, without ideas on education, without being political, is a total impossibility.”
To what extent in reality can we make claim to this critical pedagogical tradition today?