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A Hopeful Curriculum: Community, Praxis, and Courage
Unformatted Document Text:  Section 1: ContentA. The IssueThis paper argues for a more democratic pedagogical practice in teacher education. This pedagogy places hope at its center and is built upon an evolving, self-constructed model: community, praxis, and courage. Speaking from experience at both the undergraduate and graduate level, we discuss the model's theoretical tenets, how it looks in practice, and how we believe it prepares teacher candidates to work with the growing cognitive, cultural, and linguistic differences in P-12 classrooms. B. Outline of Model and Pertinent LiteratureIn terms of community we do not feel that any learning can take place in the classroom without a feeling of connectedness: a connectedness to the material/content/theories, an authentic connectedness between these and the world outside our classroom, and, most importantly a connected between us—professors and students. Particularly with graduate education students, this connection is made deeper and more profound through our life experiences: work, family, community, etc. In a constructivist move, these experiences (and the people who have them), are placed at the center of our time together. The content, then, and how we use it to impact the students of these future teachers, is built from there. In this community we strive to be vulnerable with one another, to grow together, and to find what bell hooks (1994) would call our individual, as well as, collective “voice” for the transformation of schooling and education. In terms of praxis we work toward the transformation of schooling and education, in a Freirean (1970) sense, through our action and reflection upon the world. Knowing that action without reflection is simply activism, and reflection without action is empty, we strive together to craft new lenses on the world. These lenses provide us a more nuanced and complex vision of the obstacles and injustices facing schools, and the children who inhabit them. Through a process of coming to a more critical consciousness about the issues, we work to become what Antonio Gramsci calls “organic intellectuals,” those with access to privileged knowledge (knowledge that only exists in the upper echelons of the academy) who use it for the benefit of those who need it most (e.g., students in our schools who are disenfranchised/marginalized by race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and/or ability differences). In our community, during our formation, we journey together to understand issues at both a structural and individual level, with what Seyla Benhabib (1994) terms “general and concrete others.” We work to theoretically understand systems of injustice while working with oppressed communities through field and service learning experiences in order to understand the first person experience of how this injustice plays out. Finally, with a more critical understanding of the world, we work to figure out how we can become transformative agents as teachers to ameliorate the problems/obstacles/injustices facing our students. In many ways this process towards transformation is one in which we leave “safe harbors,” a metaphor developed by Dennis Carlson (2002), which symbolizes our venture into uncharted waters toward more progressive and critical possibilities. Our insertion point into this transformational opportunity may be uncertain, unsettling, and difficult: thus it takes courage and hope. But, through our developing community, our evolving consciousness, and increasing connectedness to the world outside our classroom, we, as instructors and leaders, can

Authors: renner, adam. and brown, milton.
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Section 1: Content
A. The Issue
This paper argues for a more democratic pedagogical practice in teacher education. This
pedagogy places hope at its center and is built upon an evolving, self-constructed model:
community, praxis, and courage. Speaking from experience at both the undergraduate
and graduate level, we discuss the model's theoretical tenets, how it looks in practice, and
how we believe it prepares teacher candidates to work with the growing cognitive,
cultural, and linguistic differences in P-12 classrooms.
B. Outline of Model and Pertinent Literature
In terms of community we do not feel that any learning can take place in the classroom
without a feeling of connectedness: a connectedness to the material/content/theories, an
authentic connectedness between these and the world outside our classroom, and, most
importantly a connected between us—professors and students. Particularly with graduate
education students, this connection is made deeper and more profound through our life
experiences: work, family, community, etc. In a constructivist move, these experiences
(and the people who have them), are placed at the center of our time together. The
content, then, and how we use it to impact the students of these future teachers, is built
from there. In this community we strive to be vulnerable with one another, to grow
together, and to find what bell hooks (1994) would call our individual, as well as,
collective “voice” for the transformation of schooling and education.
In terms of praxis we work toward the transformation of schooling and education, in a
Freirean (1970) sense, through our action and reflection upon the world. Knowing that
action without reflection is simply activism, and reflection without action is empty, we
strive together to craft new lenses on the world. These lenses provide us a more nuanced
and complex vision of the obstacles and injustices facing schools, and the children who
inhabit them. Through a process of coming to a more critical consciousness about the
issues, we work to become what Antonio Gramsci calls “organic intellectuals,” those
with access to privileged knowledge (knowledge that only exists in the upper echelons of
the academy) who use it for the benefit of those who need it most (e.g., students in our
schools who are disenfranchised/marginalized by race, class, gender, sexual orientation,
and/or ability differences). In our community, during our formation, we journey together
to understand issues at both a structural and individual level, with what Seyla Benhabib
(1994) terms “general and concrete others.” We work to theoretically understand systems
of injustice while working with oppressed communities through field and service learning
experiences in order to understand the first person experience of how this injustice plays
out.
Finally, with a more critical understanding of the world, we work to figure out how we
can become transformative agents as teachers to ameliorate the
problems/obstacles/injustices facing our students. In many ways this process towards
transformation is one in which we leave “safe harbors,” a metaphor developed by Dennis
Carlson (2002), which symbolizes our venture into uncharted waters toward more
progressive and critical possibilities. Our insertion point into this transformational
opportunity may be uncertain, unsettling, and difficult: thus it takes courage and hope.
But, through our developing community, our evolving consciousness, and increasing
connectedness to the world outside our classroom, we, as instructors and leaders, can


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