Adam Kurschner English 105H Ewald

Adam Kurschner
English 105H
Critical Pedagogy
In Giroux’s first principle for Marxist pedagogy, he states that the purpose
of education needs to be viewed as not only providing knowledge, but also
preparing students for our political system. In order to prepare the students,
Giroux is saying that we should teach them to think and learn for themselves
rather than simply regurgitating information. He is saying that we should teach
students to find their own beliefs and values and not treat what a teacher says as
absolute truth. Then, when students question what they are taught, it opens a
door for teachers to learn from their students, and each can learn from the other.
In our political system, democracy, his idea is especially important
because the people we elect to office need to represent what we believe in.
They are there to show our ideas, so we should not follow every word they say.
Our government is intended so that we can discuss our ideas with our
representatives, and they can put them into action. Therefore, Giroux is saying
that if we expect democracy to work as it was intended to, we need to teach our
children to not just repeat what they are told, but also question what is taught and
as a result, come out with a greater understanding of the course material.
I agree with Giroux’s first principle, but I don’t think it is fully applicable in
all situations in today’s education. I think that first, before his ideas can be put
into action, we need to give all children some of the same background
information to assure that they will all be on the same level of understanding.
This, therefore, could result in some of the banking concept of education and
simply repeating information taught to them. I think this is necessary because we
can’t expect children to learn everything that they need to know on their own.
We should allow for them to learn from those who have gone before them so
they can build on what others have discovered. Then, after the students have a
base understanding of the subject, they should be allowed to search farther into
the subject with the teacher being reduced to a role of simply directing the
students and providing answers to their questions. Finally, the students should
be free to learn on their own and make their own conclusions and opinions on
what is being taught rather than just learning and repeating what their teacher
says is the truth.
If a class in my field of study, engineering, were to follow his rules for
education, I would be eager to take it as soon as I could. Take a physics class
for example, assuming all of the students had significant backgrounds in math
and science, and were all on the same level of knowledge. Then, Giroux’s
principles could be taken far, but not to the fullest extent. Students would be
allowed to go out into the world, do experiments, take measurements and try and
find out mathematical principles and formulas. In this class, the teacher would be
there to focus the student’s ideas, answer any questions they had and to help
them to direct their thoughts. Then, after the students have collected data and
learned first hand about why things in nature work the way they do, they would
be told the exact formulas and numbers that have been tested by experts in that
field. I believe that this is the farthest Giroux’s principle could work in this type of
class, and still be effective. This allows the students to learn on their own as
much as they can, and teach them that they should try to learn things for
themselves and develop their own beliefs. This also teaches them that they can
always look to others for ideas, inspiration and different perspectives on what
they are trying to discover, so that they are never alone in their learning.
Overall, depending on the type of class, I think Giroux’s principles should
be taken as far as they possibly can. This will create more of an interactive way
of learning for student and at the same time will allow the teacher to learn from
the students. Therefore, if we want to live in a society where our educational
system sufficiently prepares our children for democracy and puts them in a
situation where they will be allowed to learn more than they can under traditional
teaching methods, we should follow Giroux as much as possible.