For this week’s blog, I chose to write about Finn’s, Literacy with an Attitude.
Specifically Critical Intellectuals vs. Transforming Intellectuals
Critical intellectuals imagine themselves to be critics of society who stand outside the realm of society. They claim to have no agenda. They are completely neutral, free of any bias.
Finn says, in fact, they often represent the interests of the dominant group and the status quo. They imagine themselves to be apolitical because maintaining the status quo appears to be natural.
- This Type A teacher sounds and nearly represents everything perfect; someone who is neutral towards everything and does all things out of goodness. However the flaw in this is that to remain “neutral” is to represent not both or no political groups but represent the dominant one. So essentially, if one claims to be a Critical Intellectual they are the ones who reinforce the system that is currently set in place by encouraging the dominant ideologies and maintaining the status quo. This model evokes no change in society.
Conversely, Transforming Intellectuals are “self-consciously critical of inequalities in our society. They see the schools as sites of struggle between competing groups that have distinct histories, contexts, and cultures. They see their mission as helping students "develop a deep faith in struggle to overcome injustices and change themselves. "They aim to help their students become "critical agents” by providing conditions where students can "speak, write, and assert their own histories, voices, and learning experiences." They view their students, not as individuals, but as "collective actors" within culture, class, racial, historical, and gender settings and with particular problems, hopes, and dreams. They try to help these collective actors become "agents of civic courage"-that is, to help them acquire the knowledge and courage that will make "despair unconvincing and hope practical."
-Unlike Critical intellectuals, transformative intellectual’s goals are not to remain “neutral” and help by looking from the outside in but diving into society recognizing inequalities and creating a consciousness and dialogue to transform students. Transformative types of teachers don’t try to find balance, instead they find the imbalance that will help students of low classes recognize and embrace the knowledge they need to succeed from where they are to administer change within their class. They do this by giving their students the responsibility to become critical agents themselves to where they can speak and write to effect change within themselves. Lastly, and in my opinion, most importantly, they make the students “agents of civic courage.” This gives the students the courage to view hope in a practical schema.
This video shows three types of pedagogy, all of which we have read in Finn's article.
Questions/Comments to Share: Both types of teachers this article discuss’, try to help students obtain power in today’s society. Although they use different methods both bring something good to the table. In looking at both these types of teachers, what good qualities can you take from each and what bad ones can you keep away from?