ERIC Number: ED418447
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Nov-22
Reference Count: N/A
"Students at Risk": The Discourse of False Generosity.
Ashton, R. Will
Educators and policymakers find themselves confronted with how to address the issue of children "pre-disposed to failure." This paper contends that teachers and politicians are linked in a chain of responsibility that forces them to construct a common discourse through which they may share their views, and with which they may productively enact their proposals. These interest groups frame their discourse around the conceptualization of students "at risk." The dominant characterization of these students is made in accordance with a "deficit model," wherein the student at risk is viewed as embodying a specific set of traits that pre-dispose the child to fail in school. Educational discourse correlates risk with behavioral, socio-economic, and ethnic-linguistic traits. The paper undertakes a critical assessment of the prevailing deficit model from a Freirean perspective. Questions taken up are: (1) "To what extent are educators and policymakers wrongly conceiving the phenomenon of students at risk?;" (2) "How does Paulo Freire's notion of 'false generosity' (in "Pedagogy of the Oppressed") provide the right critique?;" (3) "What is the Freirean alternative?" and (4) "What are the ethical payoffs that derive from that alternative?" The paper considers whether the tendency to false generosity can be overcome and true liberatory education engaged in. It concludes by examining this question and suggesting steps that can be taken to engender an educational practice that is truly generous. (Contains nine references). (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Educational Issues; Freire (Paulo)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association (83rd, Chicago, IL, November 19-23, 1997).