I do not plan to master a role as a graduating PhD. But it is true that as I have been working iteratively in job documents, engaging diverse people literally and figuratively, and navigating to be my own self, I can only get better. I am obviously still far from the ideal point. But my recent campus visit with a private college liberal arts was definitely a humbling experience.
I could be perceived as someone who is not as optimistic or determined when revealing how my popular education or civic engagement approach is unpopular among my environmental studies’ colleague. But considering how radical it is, I feel that the approach is an important element of my identity. I welcome anyone to work with me, and I would open myself as best I can so that anyone could have an informed decision to collaborate with me.
Despite potentially a questionable determination, it is also important to note that my past seven years of engaged scholarship initiatives demonstrates how I walk the talk. I certainly continue to improve my practice. The past initiatives were not perfect. But still some values can be learned along the way, some of them are amazing, some of them are less amazing.
My current community-based project has brought lots of reflective thinking. On one hand, I am blessed. On the other hand, I could not really avoid them. Here is my latest reflective thinking that I recently shared with my “partners in crime.”
If done right, community-based project is one of the most frustrating projects. Sometimes, one of the most successful is among the most frustrating. People might argue it doesn’t have to (be frustrating). I would argue back, I am not sure if he/she truly understands the complexities of a true community-based project.
One of the possible source of frustrations from this process is that I follow a learning process/theory called popular education (see Paulo Freire and Myles Horton if interested). While the very large majority of instructors follow traditional learning approaches called pedagogy (teaching for children) and/or andragogy (teaching for adult). Popular education is mostly adopted and continued to be developed in a specific area of sociology and community psychology. While pedagogy and andragogy are exclusive in school of education. Most of their strategies are contradictive.
In addition, I am *very* flexible, but I realize it does create confusions and messiness around me sometimes, and maybe they could be counter-productive. But as long as it produces good impacts on community partners and their immediate communities, that is all that matters to me, to be completely very honest. I don’t mind at all with all the messiness, I will have to deal with them.
This article was originally accesible from this link: http://goo.gl/hYaiA. However, for a reason that I am not aware of, it was taken down and therefore it has been unavailable. This article illustrates very well what and how popular education is playing its role in social change. I happened to make a PDF print out back then, so I am able to put it on a web page format for everyone to read.
John Hurst has been a professor of education at Berkeley since 1961. Besides his work in crafting undergraduate education and in popular education, he has played an important role in the evolution of the use of wilderness as an educational vehicle. He helped found and shape the Outward Bound movement in the United States and the National Outdoor Leadership School.
When Rosa Parks was asked by the eminent talk show host, Studs Terkel, what the Highlander Research and Education Center had to do with the fact that she chose not to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, on that fateful day in early December 1955, she answered quite simply, “Everything.” As a result of its educational efforts on behalf of integration, the state of Tennessee closed Highlander in 1960 on bogus charges and auctioned off all of its property, only to have it reopen shortly thereafter under a new name and charter.