Leela Fernandes, 2003, p. 19

“Students’ resistance to things they deem too abstract and theoretical is not merely a reaction to theories that seem too elitist or overly complex. Rather, I have found that such resistances often represent a fear of having to engage in the arduous and often painful process of self-transformation. Utopias are inconvenient because they necessitate deep-seated changes in ourselves and in the ways in which we live our lives. The irony here is that such “theoretical” utopias require labor.” ~(Leela Fernandes, 2003, p. 19)

Reflection on the Reflexive Papers from Week Two

  • Valuing Mental Sphere
  • Question of “soul” or “holistic” human being
  • What is knowledge?
  • Does social reality affect the way we receive, create and disseminate knowledge?
  • What does “need” look like? Whose need?
  • Historical materialism
  • Modernity
  • Perspectives on resistances
  • Assimilation: Good or Bad?
  • Critical Pedagogy — Science & Math — Student Development
  • Can we creation a classroom free of hegemony?
  • What is border pedagogy?
  • Pedagogy — what is it?

Reflexive Paper: Week Three


HGED 615C: Reflexive Paper

Week Three

Iowa State University

January 31, 2008


  • Relational power is a dynamic interactional construct between people.

  • Understanding how power is distributed is key to being successful within the realm of education.

  • People are categorized to create a hierarchal social system.

  • Categories or classifications of people are accomplished, created by a process, or socially constructed within intricate power relations.

  • Over time, the power relation interactions become systemized between race, gender, class and abilities.

  • The academe is able to protect them from the accountability for what occurs in their environment in and out of the higher education setting. Because of the power relations, it is not always possible to hold each other accountable for their actions.

  • How the Western world academe chooses to go about the dialogue is what determines the power relations and dialogues within the educational context without considering the multiple viewpoints.

  • Ignoring one voice at the table ignores all of the education available to us as a society.

  • We do not necessarily treat all perspectives equally – legitimacy must be granted in order for it to a valid perspective.

  • Students construct their knowledge by reconditioning reason to the worlds of their personal experience.


In respect to the readings, I recognize that I am a product of the Western educational system. Growing up, we were not necessarily taught about all of the intricacies within the cultures of the United States. We were not privy to the global perspectives being considered as part of the academe today. Instead, it was a consistent privileged message that was taught via the banking method of education.

I only knew my way of thinking, what my family, church and education instructed me to know as a person. I did not understand that there was anything but those perspectives of the elders around me. This was until a professor in undergraduate college has us stand on our chairs and look at the way in which we were learning differently than any other course. The professor gave us permission to experiment with the way we would interpret and learn from the material he shared with us, and the information we gathered from our individual resources. The professor never said we were not valid with our way of thinking about the projects or problems. Instead, he let us learn from the entire experience.

I recognized at an early age, my parents taught me what was right and wrong in their eyes. They did not allow me to learn from my experiences. My father was very much like the character Archie Bunker – only his opinion was valid in regards to people. It was not out of the ordinary for him to expound about the people who lived in one neighborhood, or my friends who were “different” then me. I was told to not date anyone outside of my religion as race at a very young age. You should know – I did not necessarily keep those tenets as my own personal values as I grew older.

What concerns me as an educator is how do I ensure, I do not engage in the same behavior? How do I make sure that I will make a difference in what I do? How will I make sure I keep my eyes open to all of the different view of the world – and recognize although I do not believe in one perspective – does not mean it is not valid – how do I do that?


  • Constructivism, “as a single entity; in reality, it has become fairly commonplace in discussions of constructivism to distinguish between what are often taken to be two fundamentally distinct competing types of constructivism” (Regan, 2000, pp. 7).
  • “Ethnocentrism, refers to the tendency to view one’s own cultural group as superior to others a tendency common to most, if not all human societies” (Regan, 2000, pp. 3-4).
  • Colonization, “occurs whenever any one or more species populates a new area. The term, which is derived from the Latin colere, “to inhabit, cultivate, frequent, practice, tend, guard, respect,”[1] originally related to humans. However, 19th century biogeographers dominated the term to describe the activities of birds or bacteria, or plant species.[2] Human colonisation is a narrower category than the related concept of colonialism, because whereas colonisation refers to the establishment of settler colonies, trading posts, and plantations with your own population, colonisalism deals with this and the ruling of existing overseas peoples”(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonization).
  • Discourse, “is communication that goes back and forth (from the Latin, discursus, “running to and from”), such as debate or argument. The term is used in semantics and discourse analysis. In semantics, discourses are linguistic units composed of several sentences — in other words, conversations, arguments or speeches. Plato was famous for believing that any problem could be solved by rational and logical discourse” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discourse).
  • Essentialism, “essentialism is the view that, for any specific kind of entity, there is a set of characteristics or properties all of which any entity of that kind must have. This view is contrasted with non-essentialism which states that for any given kind of entity there are no specific traits which entities of that kind must have” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essentialism).
  • Ethnomethodology ” (literally, ‘the study of a people’s (folk) methods’) is a sociological discipline which examines the ways in which people make sense of their world, display this understanding to others, and produce the mutually shared social order in which they live. The term was initially coined by Harold Garfinkel in the 1960s. Ethnomethodology is distinct from traditional sociology, and does not seek to compete with it, or provide remedies for any of its practices” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnomethodology).
  • Immutable, “: not capable of or susceptible to change” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Immutable).
  • Modernism, “Modernism encouraged the re-examination of every aspect of existence, from commerce to philosophy, with the goal of finding that which was ‘holding back’ progress, and replacing it with new, progressive and therefore better, ways of reaching the same end. In essence, the modernist movement argued that the new realities of the industrial and mechanized age were permanent and imminent, and that people should adapt their world view to accept that the new equaled the good, the true and the beautiful”(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modernism).
  • Othering, “constitutive other (also referred to as othering) is a key concept in continental philosophy, opposed to the Same. It refers, or attempts to refer to, that which is ‘other’ than the concept being considered. The term often means a person other than oneself, and is often capitalised. The Other is singled out as different” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Othering).
  • Phenotypical, “The phenotype is composed of traits or characteristics [3]. Some phenotypes are controlled entirely by the individual’s genes. Others are controlled by genes but are significantly affected by extragenetic or environmental factors. Almost all humans inherit the capacity to speak and understand language, but which language they learn is entirely an environmental matter” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenotypical).
  • Reifies, to regard (something abstract) as a material or concrete thing” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reifies).


Ng, R. (2003). Toward an integrative approach to equity in education. In P. Trifonas (Ed.), Pedagogies of difference: Rethinking education for social change(pp. 206-213). New York: Routledge Falmer.

Rains, F. (1999). Indigenous knowledge, historical amnesia and intellectual authority: Deconstructing hegemony and the social and political implications of the curricular “other.” In L.M. Semali & Kincheloe (Eds.), What is indigenous knowledge? Voices from the academy (pp. 317-331). New York: Falmer Press.

Regan, T. (200). An introduction to the study of non-western educational traditions: A philosophical starting point. In Non-western educational traditions: Aphilosophical starting point (pp. 1-23). Mahwah, N.J: Lawerence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

Tuhiwai-Smith, L. (1999).Colonizing knowledges. In Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples (pp. 58-77). London: Zed Books.

Reflexive Paper: Week Two


HGED 615C: Reflexive Paper

Week Two

Laura Bestler-Wilcox
Iowa State University

January 24, 2008


· Assimilating individuals to regurgitate information does not mean it is knowledge learned. It is instead an egotistical way to promote the facilitator’s personal viewpoint.

· Giving students an authentic voice in the learning process.

· Educators learning from the dialogue in and out of the classroom.

· The current practice with the dominant culture based educational system (hegemony), does not meet the needs of all people due to the unequal power relations found within the system.

· The current educational process in the United States biased in respect to the knowledge.

· Dialetical thinking involves the student within the problem solving process in education, and their existence within the world.

· Knowledge is gained from the relations between people and the surrounding environment.

· Knowledge is based on much more than just the written curriculum; it is the interactions between people within the educational experience.

· Learning from the entire experience rather than learning about the experience.

· In with the new out with the old, taking what we have learned from education and transforming it into a shared experience.

· The interactions between people within a classroom are powerful, and can help change the world if warranted to do the act of change.

· Being afraid of hearing another person’s point of view will not allow the process of knowledge to occur within the classroom, instead it only intensifies the mundane awareness of existence.

· Being comfortable by understanding the need for incompletion will transform the masses and thus attribute a new form of education.


The readings from week two verified my feelings and experiences within the educational process. Only when I had a teacher who challenged me to think outside of the boundaries did I actually gain knowledge. Being a creative and visual learner, the routine discussions and curriculum did not engage me as a student.

In second grade (1976), Mrs. Hanson had me step out of the classroom and join a special program that utilized computers as its learning tool. Whether or not she recognized that my learning was excelled with the use of a different resource than other students that I do not know. I do know that I learned better by seeing, doing and interacting with the very small group of students within the excelled program. She knew that the “banking” form of education did not help me prosper and learn from the courses. They continued me within the program until seventh grade, and then I was thrust back into the repetitive regurgitation of information.

From a social justice perspective, I recognize from my experiences that I have lived a privileged life. My knowledge has been gained from an educational system based upon the dominant culture. While at my undergraduate institution, I learned that my perspectives were not those of others. I consistently needed to challenge the status quo to remember everyone and not just themselves (dominant culture).

Finding your voice and having the opportunity to use it to help make things change within the environment is a challenge. No easy task for an educator to take on the status quo. Being a university administrator, you are consistently challenged on the fine line of what is good for the students, and the way it is done on campus. Although, one would think they are the same thing, often times it is not the case. Being forthright in your own system of values and k
nowing the process to get them heard is half of the battle.


· Antipathy == Antipathy is dislike for something or somebody, the opposite of sympathy. While antipathy may be induced by previous experience, it sometimes exists without a rational cause-and-effect explanation being present to the individuals involved (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antipathy).

· Assimilationist politics == a person who advocates a policy of assimilating differing racial or cultural groups (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assimilationist)

· Commonsensical == sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/commonsensical)

· Conscientizacao == refers to a type of learning which is focused on perceiving and exposing social and political contradictions. Conscientization also includes taking action against oppressive elements in one’s life as part of that learning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscientization).

· Dialectical == is controversy, that is, the exchange of arguments and counter-arguments respectively advocating propositions (theses) and counter-propositions (antitheses) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectical).

· Discursive practices, then, refer to the rules by which discourses are formed, rules that govern what can be said and what must remain unsaid, who can speak with authority and who must listen.

· Emancipatory knowledge helps us understand how social relationships are distorted and manipulated by relations of power and privilege.

· Epistemic == theory of knowledge is the branch of philosophy which is concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemic).

· Hegemony refers to the maintenance of domination not by the sheer exercise of force but primarily through consensual social practices, social forms, and social structures produced in specific sites such as the church, the state, the school, the mass media, the political system, and the family (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hegemony).

· Necrophilic – it attempts to control thinking and action, leads women and men to adjust to the world, and inhibits their creative power.

· Ontology is a study of conceptions of reality and the nature of being. In philosophy, ontology (from the Greek nominative ν: being, genitive ντος: of being (participle of εναι: to be) and -λογία: science, study, theory) is the study of being or existence and forms the basic subject matter of metaphysics. It seeks to describe or posit the basic categories and relationships of being or existence to define entities and types of entities within its framework. It is the science of what is, of the kinds and structures of the objects, properties and relations in every area of reality. [1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology).

· Pedagogy == /ˈpɛdəgoʊdʒi/), or paedagogy: the art or science of being a teacher. The term generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction.[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedagogy)

· Praxis == Praxis is the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted or practiced (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Praxis_%28process%29).

· Tacit = tacit knowing comes from scientist and philosopher Michael Polanyi. It is important to understand that he wrote about a process (hence tacit knowing) and not a form of knowledge. However, his phrase has been taken up to name a form of knowledge that is apparently wholly or partly inexplica
ble (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacit).


Erevelles, N. (2000). Educating unruly bodies: Critical pedagogy, disability studies, and the politics of schooling. Educating Theory, 50(1), 25-47.

Freire P. (2003). Pedagogy of the oppressed (M. Bergman Ramos, Trans., pp. 71-86). New York: Continuum. (Originally published in 1970).

Grande, S.M. (2004). Mapping the terrain of struggle: From genocide, colonization, and resistance to red power and red pedagogy. In Red pedagogy: Native American social and political thought (pp. 11-30). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Haddad, S. (2003). The world social forum as a place for learning. Covergence 36 (3-4), 47-63.

Luhmann, S. (1998). Queering/querying pedagogy? Or, Pedagogy is a pretty queer thing. In W.F. Pinae (Ed.), Queer theory in education (pp. 141-155). Mahwah, NJ.

McLaren, P. (1989). Critical pedagogy: A look at the major concepts. In Life in schools: An introduction to critical pedagogy in the foundations of education (pp. 166-191). New York: Longman.

Omolade, B. (1987). A Black feminist pedagogy. Women’s Studies Quarterly 15, 32-39.

Proposal for Reflexive Papers

Dear Dr. Osei-Kofi and Dr. Shahjahan,

I would like to propose the utilization of this blog as the way in which I may submit my “HGED 615C Reflexive Papers” for class each week. Freire (2003) stated,

“In problem-posing education people develop their power to perceive critically the way they exist in the world with which and in which they find themselves; they come to see the world not as a static reality, but as a reality in process, in transformation” (p. 84).

This blog will provide me a way to exist to you both as faculty members. It will give the opportunity for comments through these online interactions, direct links to references and specific information. I will learn from the course experience, rather than just about it by transitioning the information into an online dialogue (Luhmann, 1998, p. 60). Needless to say, it will also be a way in which to save paper and help the environment on a local level.

If you would allow me to utilize this format, I will start this week posting the blog prior to class on Thursday, January 24, 2008.

Thank you for taking this under consideration.

Laura Bestler-Wilcox

Freire P. (2003). Pedagogy of the oppressed (M. Bergman Ramos, Trans., pp. 71-86). New York: Continuum. (Originally published in 1970).

Luhmann, S. (1998). Queering/querying pedagogy? Or, Pedagogy is a pretty queer thing. In W.F. Pinae (Ed.), Queer theory in education (pp. 141-155). Mahwah, NJ.

Outline for Reflexive Entries

  • Page 1: Summarize your understanding of the readings in bullet form. What are the key points/arguments being made by the authors as a group (while you can highlight individual perspectives, your focus should be on the inter-textual reading of the materials)?
  • Page 2: In paragraph form reflect how the issues raised by the authors presently impact you or have impacted you in the past. Also reflect on how these issues might impact you in the future as a social justice advocate.
  • Page 3: Create a lexicon of new terms. Outline what you did not understand in the readings as well as what questions you have on the readings.

Reflection Questions

Who Am I?
Who Decides?
How Do I Resist?
Who has Power?
Who has Agency?
Who has Voice?
Who is Listening?
Whose knowing is Knowledge?
What Does History Teach Us?
What is Dissent?

First Post

Okay, so this is my first official post. It has been a pretty long few weeks. I only wish that I would know what is happening with my job soon… I also get the opportunity to re-edit my paper for one of my Ph.D. classes. I am lucky that I have that chance. It should prove to be an interesting few weeks.