What Are We Doing Here?

1631 WordsMay 13, 20157 Pages
INTRODUCTION “What are we doing here? This is stupid, I 'm never going to use this.” -Student, age 15, on Algebra The field of education is of great interest to the field of anthropology, because our mechanisms, emphasis, direction, and narrative we use to educate in this country are not ubiquitous facts. Instead they are ideas abstracted from cultural values. They are ideas concerned with best intentions, and what that means to us. The rhetoric of educational discourse finds commonality in one resonant fact-- we want the best for our students. This idea may lead you to describe our government, our structures, our systems, as “America the Beautifully Misguided.” For years, prominent pedagogues have sought reform in the educational dossier. They seek a sort of liberation from the pervasive and perverted ideas that permeate our great American narrative. Specifically, Paulo Freire sought to release the shackles of indoctrination that did, and still do, drive our educational mantra and approach. This liberation is an idea that echoes the call of all progressives in the pedagogical field, however, it appears that this call has fallen on deaf ears and dampened into dissonance. As our post-industrialized society continues to use Fordist preening techniques, “Critical Thinking” is added to the list of unfulfilled promises of modern American university mission statements-- next to “Green,” “Progressive,” “Modern,” and other beautiful lies. By what mechanism can this hundred

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