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The Potential of Participatory Culture & the Pedagogy of Poverty

Written by Christopher Rogers
February 05, 2013

“The teaching acts that constitute the core functions of urban teaching are:

  • giving information,
  • asking questions,
  • giving directions,
  • making assignments,
  • monitoring seatwork,
  • reviewing assignments,
  • giving tests,
  • reviewing tests,
  • assigning homework,
  • reviewing homework,
  • settling disputes,
  • punishing noncompliance,
  • marking papers, and
  • giving grades.”

“In most urban schools, not performing these acts for most of each day would be considered prima facie evidence of not teaching.”

I love Haberman’s (1991) Pedagogy of Poverty as it speaks to what I see as my own experience within the K-12 space as well as the antithesis of the teaching practices that I seek to employ.  However, as much as I seek to avoid it, these principles embody the schema from which I work even as I seek to radicalize my practice. In a weird science fiction twist, we can only begin to fantasize from what we know to exist. Isn’t a unicorn just a horse with a tusk?

In our #diglits class today, we discussed what is the power of new media and participatory culture if we are functioning upon the same old desired outcomes? “At the end of the day, SWBAT demonstrate CC 1.2.3.J” I’m beginning to recognize the challenge of stepping away from authoritarian classroom rule.  Students are OK to explore because I asked them. And only given that explorations land us all in one part of the sea. I asked them to where to go? What if I didn’t? What if they got lost? What if I couldn’t get them back? How would that affect my demeanor? What does defiance look like in this new #ConnectedLearning paradigm? Why do I harp on that I NEED to understand what defiance looks like? Why must I always consider what’s the worst that could happen before I fantasize what’s the limit of the sky? It’s Haberman (1991) coming back and the essence for control reeling me back in.

Haberman, M. (1991). The pedagogy of poverty versus good teaching. Phi Delta Kappan, 73(4), 290-294.
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