Emily Columpsi

"The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery" -Mark Van Doren

Chapter 2-Kumashiro Reading

Kumashiro explains that being a “good” student requires behaving and thinking in only certain ways that contemporary society sees as acceptable. The general public places values on certain kinds of behaviours, knowledge, and skills in which the schools have to emphasize to guide student’s toward becoming successful and contributing members of society. However, Kumashiro states that if schools do not unfold these values then they are putting their student’s at a disadvantage because the teachers are not educating students on what technically matters in school and society. Educated students were” those who ended the school year with more than they began”; however, it is important that educators realize that these certain ways of thinking can actually lead to and reinforce oppression.

Student’s enter school with knowledge that is formed and shaped by family, media, and lived experiences. This knowledge that they already have usually goes unchallenged because the students feel comfortable with what is repeated in their daily lives. Thus, it is important that teachers take what they already know and not necessarily “correct” it but encourage students to learn through there resistances and desires. Through these challenges students can look beyond the standards of the school, as well as their own knowledge, and examine there problematic nature. As a result, they will not only learn the ‘right’ things, but they will also learn what matters in school and society plus how to critically examine what is being learned, how it is being learned and why. Furthermore, those students who do not challenge their knowledge and only think/behave in certain ways are privileged by society because they are seen as potential candidates who can contribute highly and successfully to society. On the other hand, those who do challenge their own knowledge and question why they are learning certain methods or themes usually get left out or oppressed because they are not doing or learning what is considered ‘right’.

Kumashiro states that when students go through emotional discomfort and disorientation they encounter a crisis. As well, these crisis’s encourage students to make changes in their opinions and knowledge. Furthermore, these students are “on the verge of a shift and require the opportunity to work through their emotions and disorientations.” When students enter a crisis, it is important that teachers create experiences that can help students work through it.  However, it is also important that teachers realize that different students experience crisis differently. As a result, I believe teachers should get to know their students, and rather than gloss over the uncomfortable situations teachers need to explore ways that crisis’s can be helpful in teaching students about oppression. In the end, if students are not experiencing crisis than they are likely not learning ways to challenge their existing knowledge; therefore, teachers, including myself, need to find ways to incorporate learning and teaching about crisis into the classroom.

As of right now I don’t really have any suggestions on how to approach this. If any of you have some ideas please share.


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