This week we went into deeper reading and discussion of educational theories. I have a background in international relations as a field of study and it was interesting to see how differently yet also similarly, theories I had studied in politics, relate to education, especially realism and idealism.
I absolutely loved the professor’s explanation of Foucault’s theories on power. You see, I had studies Foucault in a visual identity course and one thing I had really liked was a discussion on the design of the Panopticon, a type of prison that is built in a circle-like fashion and has a guard watchtower in the middle that keeps revolving with a flashlight to expose the prison cells. The explanation of why this prison was built that way is related to Foucault’s ideas on the internalization of power. So I remember that I had been fascinated by his ideas then, and even more so now.
Dr. Cossa talked about the five characteristics or qualities of power and I’d like to share them here as he wrote them because they were really eye-opening and insightful;
Hermeneutical: The interpreter’s proximity to the authorial intent of a given text
Information: The ability to generate and disseminate what is considered true and valuable information at a given time
Manipulative: The ability to persuade another to adopt a perception and behavior that benefits the persuader
Monetary: The influence one exerts on another through the ability to provide monetary power rewards or incentives
Regulatory: The ability to make rules or gives directives that are perceived as binding.
We also talked about the book review process in this class. The book I had to chosen for my review at the beginning of the semester is Pedagogy of the Opressed by Paulo Freire because it’s a classic and one of my colleagues told me that I am bound to read it sometime during my program, so I figured might as well read it now. I bought it and when I strarted reading it found its vocabulary to be too old and difficult. That’s not to say it’s impossible to read, it just wasn’t what I was looking for in a book to review; I was kind of hoping for a novel-like kinda book. So our professor said we could choose any other book that’s not on the list he gave us but it had to be related to education. Then I remembered that I had bought a book that was strongly recommended by the librarian at the Cairo Book Fair the previous year. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. It’s about a man building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan for girls. It was already on my list of books to read but it looked like it was going to jump up to be before a couple of other book titles. I’ll share my review when I have it 🙂
In any case, the talk about Foucault in this class and all the theories, as well as theorists, of education we discussed this class was an interesting and really insightful combination that made it a very knowledge-rich class… My favorite 🙂