14 SES 16, Celebrating Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed 50th Anniversary
This presentation explores a powerful resonance between recent discussions of transnationalism/cosmopolitanism and Freire’s Critical Literacy. Paulo Freire argued that reading the world and the word enables people to transcend the limits of their lived experiences and attain critical consciousness about the world (i.e., conscientization). Transnationalism has been defined by Jiménez, Smith and Teague (2009) as the “movement of people, media, language, and goods between distinct nation states, particularly that which flows in both directions and is sustained over time” (p. 17). We identified an emerging transnational awareness that became evident in how children discussed, drew and photographed their worlds. We focus on the longitudinal effects of transnational awareness and propose that, for at least some children, transnational awareness operates as a foundation for emergent cosmopolitan stances that involve social action. Echoing Freire’s pedagogy of love, cosmopolitanism has been defined as a “fundamental orientation to the stranger” and “a welcoming of difference” (Ong, 2009, p. 450). Our Study This nine-year longitudinal collective case study involves nine children from immigrant families who have come to the United States from around the world. The students entered the study in kindergarten, grade 1, or grade 2. Each year, we collected observations, spoken data, and student-created artifacts (e.g., writing samples, maps, photographs). Our reading and rereading of coded data across the sample led us to focus on families’ digital transnational practices and children’s transnational awareness. Our Findings First, we draw on data from the first three years of the study, examine maps that children drew of the world, observations of their transnational literacy practices, and reflect on the comparisons that children make about their native countries and the United States. We then track one student – Adam, a Muslim American from Morocco. As we follow him into high school, he consistently displays not only an awareness of the world, but also displays a cosmopolitan stance that recognizes the humanity of people around the world. For example, in eighth grade, when Adam was assigned to write an “argumentative essay” he chose to write about the war in Syria. He was involved in organizing a “fundraiser for Syrian children” at the local Mosque and explained “You always have to remember, ‘cause there’s children there that are dying every day and stuff, so I think it’s an important thing you should know [about]. You should never be too unsocial, or NOT be connected to the world.”
Hawkins, M.R. (2014). Ontologies of place, creative meaning making and critical cosmopolitan education. Curriculum Inquiry, 44(1), pp. 90-112. Lam, W. S. E. (2009b). Literacy and learning across transnational online spaces.E-learning and Digital Media, 6(4), 303-324. Moll, L. C., Amanti, C., Neff, D., & Gonzalez, N. (1992). Funds of knowledge for teaching: Using a qualitative approach to connect homes and classrooms. Theory into Practice, 31(1), 132-41.
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