Centering the Social Justice Needs of Teachers by Kohli, Picower and Martinez

CRITICAL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT:
CENTERING THE SOCIAL JUSTICE NEEDS OF TEACHERS 

A model of critical professional development known as APD (antidiagonal professional development ) is being combated with teachers being participants in a cooperative dialectical process, since there is an increasing technocratic system developing between teachers and students (Kohli, 7)

In this study, teachers are engaged as politically aware individuals who have a stake in teaching various individuals in a society. There is a strong emphasis on unity amongst participants around their social justice goals , the structure was organized through shared power between teachers and organizers, and their needs were centered using a practice of cultural synthesis.

The article offers a critique of the banking methods and traditionally used methods within APD and provides insight into how teachers can successfully be positioned as experts and be in control of their own social justice-oriented professional growth.

Using Paulo Freire’s method of critical pedagogue: anti-dialogical action, the attendees established themselves as the bestower of knowledge to the student “whom they consider knowing nothing”

However, with the rise of scripted PD’s (professional development) and prescribed curriculum, teachers are increasingly the passive recipients of technical training (Kohli,9) This raises the problem of having outside experts with little knowledge of local conditions who present irrelevant, useless information, focused more on compliance, begin advising teachers; with much of the current PD not involving teachers in the process of examining the issues faced by them or their students, nor their elicit professional expertise, interests or needs.

These programs are called anti-liberatory professional development or antidialogical professional development (APD) programs.

As a response to this, and the unmet needs of social justice minded teachers, CPD (critical professional development) programs begin to emerge, focusing on teaching politically aware individuals who have a key role in teaching.

With the findings of the experiment, much current PD’s provide teachers little say in their professional development. In contrast, CPD involves cooperation; teachers working together to create positive learning spaces that reflects the needs of students. This needs to be mediated through authenticated dialogue where the needs of the two parties are addressed; showing genuine acts of care or love. This coupled with acts of unity, will prevent against isolation. With various jobs and different people working on similar tasks it can help grow a learning community that satisfies the needs of parents, students and teachers as opposed to an environment that devalues creativity and critical thinking skills.

Implementing CPD programs will prepare educators to develop their critical conscience, teach with critical pedagogy and combat injustice and inequality in the school system. This will also challenge antidialogical action by merging problem posing teaching methods and critical content. CPD affects teachers beyond learning, it will push teachers to act as agents of change, pushing their professional discourse of using education as a vehicle for equity and justice.

Mahen Kariyakarawana

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