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ERIC Number: EJ1038738
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1195-4353
Between Tyranny and Complicity: Thoughts on Responding to Oppressive Student Conduct
Shupak, Greg
College Quarterly, v17 n2 Spr 2014
Critical pedagogy scholars have long struggled to reconcile their desire for a democratic, participatory classroom with the necessity of creating a learning environment that is safe and inclusive. Indeed, in critical pedagogy theory there is a tension between enabling students to think for themselves and convincing students to read the cultural and political world in the same way as their professor. How, then, should a postsecondary educator respond to students whose classroom behavior is sexist, racist, homophobic, displays class prejudice, or is otherwise oppressive toward other students? Can pedagogical practices be developed in which the role of the teacher is neither to be an authoritarian preacher nor someone who, through their silence, sanctions students' words or deeds that undermine their peers' human rights? The author addresses what he sees as two of the underlying issues that are at play. First, he considers whether teachers should make their specific political opinions known to students and whether professors should take sides during in-class debates among students. The author's specific focus is on cases where one student or group of them is behaving oppressively toward one or more other students. He argues that sometimes it is necessary for a college teacher to express political opinions that differ from those held by one or more of their students and that it is misguided to think that value-free teaching is even possible. The author refers to this as interventionist pedagogy. Having staked out those positions, the second underlying issue he addresses is how teachers can make these interventions responsibly so that the classroom does not become, in effect, a re-education camp.
Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology. 1750 Finch Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario M2J 2X5, Canada. Tel: 416-491-5050; Fax: 905-479-4561; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A