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ERIC Number: ED409565
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar-12
Pages: 27
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
When "Phaedrus" Meets "Oleanna": Teaching Composition as Social Justice, or Reconsidering Power (Im)Balances between Students and Teachers.
Burmester, Beth
One composition instructor's purpose is to address, or perhaps, re-dress, the balance of the relationship between teacher and student using a dialogic framework that provides for reciprocity. Her aim is to provoke, to seduce (persuade through passion), and to awaken their incipient sense of wonder at the world and the language that creates this reality. Bakhtin classifies the Socratic dialogue as "carnivalesque." Reading Plato's dialogue in "Phaedrus"against David Mamet's "Oleanna," and by using it as a site for inquiry rather than as an object of "truth" or received knowledge, students are led to question not just the ancient model of education, but all models of education--including higher learning as an institution--its purpose, methods, prejudices--as well as models of teacher-student relationships. Read both together and against each other, these plays reveal significant common themes. Both involve two characters, a student and a teacher. Both "play" with this relationship and explore questions of power and justice. Excerpts from students' writings on the plays show that many of them discovered new perspectives about themselves and the world, but some remained uncomfortable with a power rearrangement. During discussions about "Oleanna" the students almost unanimously supported John, the teacher, and had virtually no sympathy for Carol, the student. (Student response statistics, handouts and assignments, background materials on readings, and in-class writing projects are attached.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A