From Realpolitik to Heartfelt Politics: Caring, Conscience, and Commitment in the Teaching of Social Sciences

Collins, Sheila D.
November 1994
Humanity & Society;Nov94, Vol. 18 Issue 4, p85
Academic Journal
In this article, the author provides some practical insights about critical pedagogy in the classroom. The author taught public administration, organizational theory, urban government at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. The author opinions that discussions on case studies drawn from the lives and experiences of the students taught her more about the subject than any of the books that had been assigned for reading. Several times she had to scrap the syllabus and start over, when a text on city government didn't describe the reality they knew. She concluded that, what the students needed most was the permission and encouragement to speak their truth and the written and analytical skills to make that truth heard in the councils where it counts. When the course was altered, it enabled students to work with the material they knew intimately, the classes came alive with meaning and purpose. Students learned from each other as much as from any book, saw their own contexts more clearly and empowered to become more effective advocates for social change.


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