Friday, February 15, 2013

The View from Columbia University Teachers College

The Teachers College at Columbia University, which has a reputation as a sort of Harvard of teachers colleges, recently held a year long faculty seminar to examine "in fresh terms the nexus of globalization, education, and citizenship."  That is an important nexus and my hopes were raised that a year long seminar on it might offer up some real insights and useful ideas.  But here is the research paper that is offered up as the "introduction" to the results of the seminar.  It is titled "On Natality in Our Roots, Routes, and Relations: Reconceiving the "3 R's" at the Rendezvous of Education, Citizenship, and Globalization."  If you have ever been a graduate student, you will remember the sinking feeling that comes when you realize that you are not going to understand a single word in a required course.  If not, this sentence (chosen essentially at random from a dense 12 page, single-spaced article) should remind you: "Herein," (this begins a paragraph), "whether colonized or colonizer (bearing truly in our very bodies the legacy of both), we share a dislocated-ness from home, and are implicated in human sufferings rooted in this living inheritance of inequitable and inhumane relations: via education, as a 'technology of colonist subjectification'; and at the site of our subjectivity."  This is apparently the type of idea and the sort of prose that is admired and presumably cultivated by the teachers of our teachers.  All I can say is that it is no wonder that practicing teachers of American history, government, and social studies love AU's Masters of Arts in American History and Government program. 

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