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Class,

Read this excerpt from a talk to teachers given by one of our great authors and social activists, James Baldwin.  Then respond in the Discussion Forum to any of the questions below:

“The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.  The purpose of education, finally, is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions, to say to himself this is black or this is white, to decide for himself whether there is a God in heaven or not.  To ask questions of the universe, and then learn to live with those questions, is the way he achieves his own identity.  But no society is really anxious to have that kind of person around.  What societies really, ideally, want is a citizenry which will simply obey the rules of society.  If a society succeeds in this, that society is about to perish.  The obligation of anyone who thinks of himself as responsible is to examine society and try to change it and to fight it – at no matter what risk.  This is the only hope society has.  This is the only way societies change.”

James Baldwin, October 16, 1963

How do Baldwin’s assertions relate to Robinson’s claims about “divergent thinking”? 

How do Baldwin’s assertions relate to Freire’s ideas about the connection between oppression and the banking concept of education? 

How do Baldwin’s ideas inform your understanding of Freire, Gardner, Elbow or any of our readings and discussions?

In your responses to your classmates’ ideas, keep in mind that you are looking to extend and deepen the discussion of multiple connections between the ideas in the readings. This is what you will be doing in your final essay.

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