The impossible demand involves demanding the impossible—studying what freedom educators from Ella Baker to Christopher Emdin do to create a model for restorative justice in education. Love believes, “You can’t have liberation without queerness,” and it is queerness that allows us to push what society says is normal and do the work of freedom dreaming. A radical feminist leadership sees “knowledge as an embodied practice” that is intersectional and anti-oppression. Racism, bigotry, and hate is a triad that only a participatory democracy can defeat. Love invites listeners to join the struggle for freedom.
Intro and interstitial music is by Lance Eric Haugan, with Aviva
and the Flying Penguins.
Outro music is by Paul Myhre, “7 Steps,” available on
Dr. Bettina Love is Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Theory & Practice (Early Childhood, Elementary Education) in the College of Education at the University of Georgia. Love is the creator of “Get Free: Hip Hop Civics Education” [http://getfreehiphopcivics.com/], and is the author of Hip Hop Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South (Peter Lang, 2012) and We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom (Beacon Press, 2019). Lucia and Tina talked with Dr. Love about hip hop education, freedom schools, and breaking the cycles of oppression. Love encourages her teacher education students to take risks and go beyond gimmicks and tricks in teaching. In the current resegregated public schools systems, abolitionist teaching requires creating a culturally-responsive pedagogy in which all students matter.
In Part Two Antonia Darder discusses the use of art and poetry in her engaged pedagogy. She raises key questions for talking about critical pedagogies and rethinking oppressive educational systems. What does an emancipatory pedagogy look like and how do we create the spaces to dream with our students?
Dr. Antonia Darder is the Leavey Presidential Endowed Chair in Ethics and Moral Leadership in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University and Professor Emerita of Educational Policy, Organization, and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Distinguished Visiting Faculty at the University of Johannesburg. Prof. Darder spoke with me about what led her to Paulo Freire and critical pedagogy. She stresses the importance of seeing students as co-creators of knowledge in the classroom that is rooted in a deep sense of respect. In countering ethnocentrism in current educational practices, Darder talks about creating counternarratives to neoliberalism.
Justice work requires
reflection and resiliency. In Part Two Gordon asks the question: where does
religion stand?—on the side of the status quo or the people most effected by
injustice? He sees social change as a spiritual activity, and one that makes
religion a force of unity in justice work. This activity means showing up and building
solidarity with others over racial and economic justice. There are so many
overwhelming issues to deal with–from climate change to the rise of white
supremacist nationalism—that we are in a race against time. Winning the race is
an intergenerational, interreligious action. Gordon leaves us not with despair
at the enormity of the power imbalances and struggles, but with hope:
“The true value of the
conversations and practices in Stand Up! may
be that they help us stay human amid darkness and uncertainty. They give us
courage not only to keep fighting but to care for one another” (Stand Up!, p. 62).
In Part 2 of this conversation, share with us their strategies for creating open and democratic spaces in the classroom through specific games and other techniques such as storytelling, poetry, and the arts. They share their joy at being surprised at the creative innovation of their students, whether in k-2, university level, or k-12 teachers. In doing so, they share how they bridge the theory and practice divide, value the knowledge of their students, and engage in new meaning-making for a more just world.
Misha Cahnmann-Taylor and Mariana Souto-Manning are “rehearsing for the revolution” (Augusto Boal’s term) in their creative teaching. In Part One of this podcast they share with us their stories of using theatre “as a way to train new teachers, and ourselves,” as well as create democratic spaces in classrooms through “culture circles” (Souto-Manning) and poetry and the arts (Cahnmann-Taylor). Join me in learning from these inventive teachers who are committed to embodied learning and serious play for transformative learning and social change.
Melisa “Misha” Cahnmann-Taylor is Professor of TESOL & World Language Program (TWLE), Dept. of Language & Literacy Education, College of Education, The University of Georgia. Her blog is https://teachersactup.com/
Mariana Souto-Manning is Professor of Early Childhood Education & Teacher Education, Teachers College, Columbia University; Founding Co-director of the Center for Innovation in Teacher Education and Development (CITED).
“United, Unafraid, Undefeated, Unstoppable Leaders.” That is the description by the students of U-Lead Athens. Since August 2014 they meet every Thursday night at Oconee United Methodist Church, on the boundary of the University of Georgia (a university that bans undocumented students). Mentors and allies from the university (the UGA Undocumented Student Alliance) and the community gather to eat and study and plan for the future. Their mission statement states that they assist high school and recent graduates in preparing for college, identifying schools that are open to un(der)documented students, and applying for scholarships and other financial support. U-Lead Athens is a sanctuary, in the many meanings of that term, providing a supportive community.
In August 2018 my daughter Jacy and I visited U-Lead on a Thursday evening and interviewed current college students who returned to visit or volunteer, some current students, the director of volunteers, PhD student Nikki Luke, and two of the co-directors, Prof. JoBeth Allen and Prof. Betina Kaplan. The conversations set the context of the discrimination and anti-immigrant laws in Georgia, the activist work of students and allies to change these laws and provide access to higher education and in-state tuition, as well as working on justice issues around TPS and DACA status. The students shared their stories, their art, and their hopes and challenges.
Equal access to education is a human right. To support U-Lead Athens, click here:
Irwin Leopando is Associate Professor of English at LaGuardia Community College, (CUNY) in Queens, NY. He is the author of the book we discuss in this podcast, A Pedagogy of Faith: The Theological Vision of Paulo Freire (Bloomsbury, 2017). Leopando came to study Paulo Freire (1921-1997) in graduate school classes with his dissertation director, Ira Shor. Leopando’s interest in dialogical pedagogy extends into his own teaching of English composition. Also as one who grew up in the Roman Catholic Church, Leopando shares this faith affiliation with Freire.
In Part One of this podcast Leopando talks about his first encounters with Freire in Shor’s classes through Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Leopando became curious in how Freire’s Roman Catholic faith and his own experience of childhood poverty influenced his activism and his pedagogy in the political and social context of Brazil. Liberation theology and the Christian-Marxist dialogue were major influences on Freire’s thought. Democracy requires the literacy of the poor. And a democratic classroom requires the drive to help the learner grow into their own agency.
Nicolazzo asks us, “How do we think about the most vulnerable students on our campuses,” especially those who are multiply marginized? How do we work toward “a practice of freedom” (hooks)? Nicolazzo shows us a broader vision of trans*studies and pedagogies in higher education, and how attention to these intersections of oppression and freedom benefit all students and faculty. “What are we willing to risk in the name of justice?” And how can we collaborate in our classrooms and beyond in a “critical hope”?
A Podcast of Radical Musings on Social Justice, Pedagogies for Transformation, and Feminist Activism