Moving Away From the “Chalk and Board”: Lessons From a Critical Pedagogical Standpoint

Moving Away From the “Chalk and Board”: Lessons From a Critical Pedagogical Standpoint

Talia Randa Esnard (The University of the West Indies – St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago) and Linda Lila Mohammed (University of Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7829-1.ch003

Abstract

Freire contended that teachers' knowledge sets are incomplete without the critical engagement and dialogic exchange with students. Such non-hierarchical and collaborative arrangements are perceived to be at the crux of transformative praxis. As a way of testing the possibilities around this pedagogical alternative, this project encouraged teachers to creatively explore critical pedagogical approaches (CPA) in the classroom and the extent to which this enhanced the engagement of students, and, ultimately, their ability to critically apply their understanding of existing knowledge frames to the formation and presentation of new forms of knowledge. Written observations and self-reflections point to the salience of systemic constraints that were rooted in the structural and cultural facets of the school system, and the effect of these both on teachers' adoption of a bimodal model of instruction, and, on their partial success in this endeavor. Implications for theory and practices are herein discussed.
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Teacher Training And Preparedness

We contend that the issue of teachers’ pedagogical approaches within the classroom requires an examination of the teacher training programs. The authors start therefore, with a recognition of the many reforms of teacher training programs in Trinidad and Tobago. To a large extent, the authors note these reforms have been locked within attempts to regularize teacher education in Trinidad and Tobago, to standardization of the criteria for employment or promotion of teachers in the service, to increase access to teacher training institutions. The latter has resulted in the particular expansion of many teacher training institutions, programs, and specializations in Trinidad and Tobago.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Critical Thinking: Is often perceived as an applied skill through which an individual can logically (or through well-reasoned skills), make sense of and analyze information, in the process of solving a given problem or making a decision.

Teacher-Centered Classroom: Places the teacher at the center of teaching and learning in the classroom. Such classroom environments are often referred to as traditional and didactic.

Chalk and Board: This typically refers to the use of a traditional, directed, or didactic teaching and learning method where the teacher who remains at the center of that process delivers a lesson through the use of the chalk and board. These are typically employed to highlight information about pertinent concepts, relevant skills or competencies. In the more contemporary period, this is replaced in some schools with the white board and the marker.

Critical Pedagogy: Emerges as both a theory and a praxis. At the core of this is the need for teachers to situate learning and teaching within the social and political contexts of the education system. As such, it therefore presents a method or medium of teaching through which teachers can transform the nature of classroom relations, the capacities of and possibilities for both teachers and students.

Student-Centered Classrooms: Are used to capture learning environment in which there is a co-construction of knowledge (that is, by the teacher and the student). These are driven by philosophical frameworks that place students and teachers within collaborative and non-hierarchical environments.

Creativity: In teaching involves the use of innovative, flexible, relevant tools and methods that allow for making connections between existing systems of knowledge, one’s own reality, and the possibilities for framing new knowledge frames around these.

Standardized Curriculum: Speaks to the notion that all schools should be guided by expectations for specific knowledge, skills, and competencies that are deemed suitable to a certain group or developmental level of students. These usually provide standards, methods of instruction and assessment, as well as benchmarks from which the objectives can be measured and evaluated.

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