Beyond Caricatures: On Dewey, Freire, and Direct Instruction (Again)

radical eyes for equity

A former colleague while we both taught high school in rural South Carolina, Ed Welchel, and I addressed [1] the continuing importance of both John Dewey and Paulo Freire, despite the decrease in requirements for education philosophy in certification and degree programs, in «The Practitioner Has No Clothes: Resisting Practice Divorced from Philosophy in Teacher Education and the Classroom» for Kincheloe and Hewitt’s Regenerating the Philosophy of Education.

While Dewey (Progressivism) and Freire (Critical Pedagogy) share significance for how we should implement universal public education, they also share a pattern of being discounted and discredited through caricature more often than through valid criticisms of their faults.

I have noted several times the work of Lou LaBrant, who I would identify as a «true» progressive, specifically her own efforts to unmask misguided and mislabeled progressive practices (see «Masquerading»). LaBrant’s work and career help expose (i) that progressive claims have…

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