Friday, November 21, 2008

Controversia: Teaching Chicano/a Lit

Can teaching Chicano/a lit empower students?

When I corresponded with Professor Frederick Luis Aldama at Ohio State about his perspective with regards to pedagogy, he pointed me in the direction of his book Brown on Brown.

In the conclusion, Aldama touches on relationships of pedagogy and power in the classroom when he writes:

"If authority is everywhere, the it is nowhere. There must be an identifiable center of authority in the classroom that provides useful limits and rules as required by its respective disciplinary methodological contours for students to learn and become independent thinkers...

"And to suggest that power in the classroom is everywhere follows a belief that power is everywhere. This is necessary, of course, if one believes that we can enact resistance and political intervention through language and cultural phenomena...Perhaps the best way for us to further democratic goals is to encourage the learning of methods that can verify facts to build our understanding not just of Chicano/a literature and film but of the world we inhabit" (Aldama 145-146).

Aldama brings up the fact that we can hardly circumvent a hierarchy, in which we are a part. The term "empowerment" can be often-times overused, but it could be worth noting that we empower students to take part in democratic processes that don't readily lend themselves to the classroom.

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