Thesis

Transforming multiculturalism: striving for humanism in the classroom

Prominent theorist and compositionists such a Paulo Freire and Edward Said argue for a more liberatory and humanistic approach in the classroom. There have been many pedagogical responses to the actualization of Freire’s liberatory pedagogy, multiculturalism being one of them. However, many times, the efforts of instructors to incorporate this framework into their classrooms have resulted in superficial and sometimes damaging modes of reinforcing existing stereotypes and promoting binary worldviews. Therefore, I argue that it is important to look at multiculturalism as a way of subverting existing authoritative views of the Other and enabling the Othered to reconstruct and formulate their own identities grounded in their historical and cultural experiences. And second, it is an effective way of dismantling the false authority and privilege that is placed on academic or “standard” dialogue by placing all cultures, including the culture of whiteness, under scrutiny so that one culture, language, form of communication is not seen as a default or neutral while others seen as the outsiders, unnatural, different. I argue that it is essentially through these things that teachers can begin to meet the essential goals of helping students gain rhetorical awareness and critical thinking skills in the composition classroom.

Thesis (M.A., English (Composition)) -- California State University, Sacramento, 2013.

Prominent theorist and compositionists such a Paulo Freire and Edward Said argue for a more liberatory and humanistic approach in the classroom. There have been many pedagogical responses to the actualization of Freire’s liberatory pedagogy, multiculturalism being one of them. However, many times, the efforts of instructors to incorporate this framework into their classrooms have resulted in superficial and sometimes damaging modes of reinforcing existing stereotypes and promoting binary worldviews. Therefore, I argue that it is important to look at multiculturalism as a way of subverting existing authoritative views of the Other and enabling the Othered to reconstruct and formulate their own identities grounded in their historical and cultural experiences. And second, it is an effective way of dismantling the false authority and privilege that is placed on academic or “standard” dialogue by placing all cultures, including the culture of whiteness, under scrutiny so that one culture, language, form of communication is not seen as a default or neutral while others seen as the outsiders, unnatural, different. I argue that it is essentially through these things that teachers can begin to meet the essential goals of helping students gain rhetorical awareness and critical thinking skills in the composition classroom.

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