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Social Justice & Student Voice
Human Restoration Project, Creative Commons-BY-SA. Presented by Dr. Henry Giroux as part of Conference to Restore Humanity! 2022.
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Dr. Henry Giroux outlines how teachers and students can escape a “dead zone of imagination” and create alongside each other for a better world.
"Across the globe, democratic institutions, such as the independent media, schools, the legal system, certain financial institutions, and higher education are under siege. The promise and ideals of democracy are receding as right-wing extremist breathe new life into a fascist past and undermine what I call the public imagination..." Dr. Henry Giroux outlines how teachers and students can escape a “dead zone of imagination” and create alongside each other for a better world.
This discussion guide is meant to guide teacher professional development, but may be modified for classroom use - especially in the humanities.
How has the rise of neoliberalism impacted teaching and learning in the classroom? What about our system of education supports consumerism, hypercapitalism, militarism, environmental destruction, racism, and rising inequality?
Likewise, how has the rise of authoritarianism and far-right groups impacted teaching and learning in the classroom? What’s different now versus the past?
Giroux states that education is “...[a] project based on the search for truth and enlarging of the imagination and the practice of freedom.” What does this mean to you?
In what ways has a business model of schooling impacted our ability to combat authoritarianism & fascism?
Giroux states, “Critical thought and the imagining of a better world present a direct threat not only to white supremacists, but also to those ideologues who narrowly embrace a corporate vision of the world, in which the future always replicates the present in an endless circle in which capital and the identities that it legitimates merge with each other into what might be called a dead zone of the imagination and pedagogies of repression.”
How do we combat a dead zone of imagination and a pedagogy of repression within a classroom’s four walls?
Giroux cites James Baldwin, writing, “Ignorance aligned with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” How can educators begin to teach and combat ignorance in a time where ignorance is arguably celebrated and propagated?
What other movement abilities should educators and students get involved with? Why?
How are hope and agency connected? Why does this matter for the current state of education?
What would it look like to simultaneously educate informed citizens and build critical modes of agency?
Giroux lists six recommendations for teachers to utilize critical pedagogy in the classroom. In his fifth recommendation, he states that students “need to learn how to think dangerously”, or as Baldwin wrote, how to be “troublemakers.” What are your thoughts?
What does it mean to be a “pedagogical terrorist”? How can this mindset be prevented?
Again, Giroux cites Baldwin, who wrote, “Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them. The moment we break with one another, the sea engulfs us and the lights go out." Reflect on this statement and keynote address. What does it mean to incorporate a critical pedagogy in a time of fascist tyranny?