ADED 4P91 – Week 3 Reflection “Critical Reflection and Critical Agency”

Brookfield “we discover our voice”.

I discovered my voice somewhere around 1986, when I discovered punk. I always felt outside the boundaries of what mainstream culture was offering. I felt that the world had so much more to offer than the way things were – I had (and have) hope for how we live. Education, I thought way back then was the way to make everything better. If only people knew about how good people of different races, genders, sexual orientations were, then we could all get along. Of course, looking back that kind of naivety is charming, cute and a little unbalanced.

What is totally missing is that paradigm shift that I so easily found, in finding my own voice, is the shift that ultimately impedes people. I don’t have a lot of problem with change – there are things I can fix, and things I can’t. If I can’t fix it, I can’t exactly spend time worrying about the change that is coming. Change is difficult for a lot of people. I don’t hold many absolutes, however I do hang on to a couple of ideas pretty staunchly. One of which is the transformative power of education. Personally transformative – allowing those who are smart enough to get better jobs, make a bit more money, and ultimately do better for yourself. It’s why the MOOCs are so appealing, because here’s the promise that education has laid out for years – better yourself. Except knowledge is no longer good enough. Especially in a world where knowledge is cheap or free, but accreditation is much more expensive.

bell hooks talks about having to unlearn racism, sexism and one’s own biases in the workshops she’s run. I think I’m coming to the point where I have to unlearn this given that I’ve been holding onto for years. I don’t think knowing something is good enough anymore. When we have such external financial pressures, you have to prove to someone what you know, and that, my friends, is a piece of paper that costs money. Sure education can transform your outlook, change the way you view things, but ultimately, unless you already hold power, you’re not going to be much further ahead. Education however, can’t change the economics of the world.