Critical Pedagogy, Anarchist Pedagogy, #moocmooc

This week the topic of discussion on #moocmooc centers around anarchist educational alternatives in the context of critical pedagogy. A fascinating topic. But let me be the first to disclaim – I have no idea what all of this is about. So I can share some random feelings.

The big question for me is how do you do “anarchist pedagogy” in the context of formal curriculum? I really do not know how, or even if this is a valid question to start with. I have asked it nevertheless in the #moocmooc Twitter space and hopefully some more will be shared on it during the chat later this evening.

But back to the topic. In this blog post – Are you frustrated with Education only for Employment,  the author argues for  anarchist pedagogy as a counter to education solely (almost) for the purpose of employment as is evident in an American-styled meritocratic capitalist education system that rewards based on credentials. The author  suggests that  –Free Skools and other counter-cultural institutions that engage in anarchist practices often try to reskill participants in these often forgotten areas of study.In the reading material for #moocmooc  Adam Heidebrink-Bruno  writes that “…the primary aim of education, especially an anarchist education, isn’t economic”  and that “anarchist pedagogies promote the critical skills necessary to be that counter friction“.  Clearly the idea of some “counter” to the existing pedagogy is necessary.

So back to my ‘big question’ – how do we do this in the context of formal education that is now so deeply rooted in the ‘education for employment’ paradigm? Do we need alternative approaches to curriculum development? For example can we develop specific curriculum grounded in anarchist pedagogy? And is that even possible at all? Or can we build into existing curricula opportunities for exploring anarchist pedagogy?

As I write it has occurred to me that if we mean pedagogy in the sense of the action – how we teach and how we educate then it might be possible to create windows for looking through existing curricula (content?) differently.  I really do not know how to think about this from a Computer Science Education perspective  (my field of work) when it’s almost always interpreted as one of those areas where you study in order to seek out proper  employment/create employment, generally speaking. Or is this a limited view to start with? Are we making too many assumptions?

And even as I read on it is becoming less clearer to me what this anarchist educational experience might look like.  For example, the reading for this week  on #moocmooc leaves us with questions that probe the structures that exist currently. How might we “act as a counter-friction to oppression structures“?

I summarize my fuzzy understanding of anarchist pedagogy as the following three questions:

  • What really is anarchist pedagogy?
  • How can it be made practical (is this what is called praxis?)
  • How can we address the structural challenges and potential opposition to its furtherance?

Sometimes I wonder if I do ask reasonably questions.

About lenandlar

Lenandlar Singh is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Guyana.
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