Freire’s ideas about education and our human vocation through explanation of the key concepts he presents

Assignment and Evaluation Rubric—English 191 Paper #1: Summary and Significance: Freire Dr. Fox Due: See Schedule


The Burkean Parlor Academic writing is similar to what is called the Burkean Parlor (an idea from Kenneth Burke about communication, knowledge production, and the “unending conversation” of humankind). Here’s a passage from Burke to explain:

Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress. (from Philosophy of Literary Form)

The topic of critical consciousness we have discussed so far this semester is part of a “conversation” that has been going on for a long time and will continue. Much like any conversation you might enter (at a party or coffee shop or bar), when you enter a situation in which the conversation has already started, you listen for a while to get a sense of the topics. Then, at some point you make a contribution to the conversation drawing on what others have said and also contributing your own thoughts. You eventually leave, although with awareness that the conversation will continue. Being a part of the “conversation of humankind” is not a matter of having the end all/be all argument, instead, it is a matter of listening, fairly summarizing, contributing, and understanding that your contribution is a small part of a larger whole that will continue without you. Each of the papers in this class will help lead you to a point where you have done the groundwork necessary to enter the conversation about critical literacy and make a contribution.

Again, the Burkean Parlor is a metaphor for academic writing (really, any form of intellectual writing). The first thing we do is “listen to the conversation” to get a foothold on the topics and positions people are taking. In this course, we do this through reading, interpreting, and summarizing ideas. In this first stage, it is crucial to offer a fair and complete summary of others’ ideas. After all, if you were at a party and entered a conversation and mis- represented what others had said (or simply jumped in without listening at all!), you would have a difficult time making any sort of credible contribution to the larger conversation. In fact, you might be shunned from the group. Towards the end of mastering the first key element of entering an intellectual conversation, your first paper will focus on summarizing accurately and fully.

Assignment and Evaluation Rubric—English 191 Paper #1: Summary and Significance: Freire Dr. Fox Due: See Schedule


Overview of Paper 1: Summary and Significance Explaining Freire’s ideas can be very challenging when working alone; therefore be sure to work with your groups to draft this paper. You will write one paper as a group and turn it in with all of your names on it. You can choose how to collaborate—meeting face to face, using something like GoogleDocs, or any other technology that is useful to you. In this paper I want you to offer an explanation of Freire’s ideas about education and our vocation as humans from the excerpts from Pedagogy of the Oppressed we have read in class. You can draw on other texts we have used in class, but your main purpose is to present Freire’s arguments and key terms to people not familiar with his ideas. In your paper you should be sure to fully explain (using quotations and paraphrases) the key concepts of: • Students/citizens as Objects vs. students/citizens as Subjects • Alienation • Critical Consciousness • Liberation • True dialogue • Words as reflection and action • The effects of banking style • The effects of problem posing style In addition to explaining the main ideas from Freire, I want you to use 2 or 3 examples that are relevant to your lives to illustrate the key concepts from Freire. Finally, I want you to discuss the significance of his ideas throughout your paper (your answer to the ?so what? question). Discussion of “significance” is where you begin to “enter the conversation” ala the Burkean Parlor. In other words, we summarize a challenging text by:

1. Drawing on textual evidence through quoting and interpreting 2. Using illustrative examples to ground the ideas 3. Exploring the significance of those ideas (asking So What? So What difference do these ideas make?)

You do not need to do additional research for this paper, in fact I encourage you NOT to do additional research and instead focus your energies on working through Freire’s ideas as presented in the two chapters we read for class. Be sure to look at the rubric (below) to make sure you fulfill all the basic requirements for the assignment. Your paper should be approximately 5-7 pages. Audience Oftentimes when people first read Freire they focus on our early experiences in education (elementary school and high school). While this is certainly an appropriate focus, it is more “past” oriented than “future” oriented. Unless you are planning to be an elementary or high school teacher, focusing on these early education contexts is likely less useful that focusing forward on current and future contexts. Thus, in order to get your mind focused on future contexts, I want you to imagine your audience as a president of a university or a CEO of an organization. As you are thinking about how you will modify your writing in order to speak to this audience, you can consider the following question:

How can you explain Freire’s ideas about education and our vocation as humans to a president of a university or a CEO of corporation in a way that will help them fully understand and appreciate the significance of Freire’s ideas?

Assignment and Evaluation Rubric—English 191 Paper #1: Summary and Significance: Freire Dr. Fox Due: See Schedule


Where to Start How do you write about something that you may not completely understand yet? Here is where good note-taking and careful re-reading of the text are important.

1. Use your notes and class writings to map out a cluster of the main ideas from Freire (locating page numbers and passages).

2. Once you have a map or list, try to interpret them (make sense of them by putting them into your own words or connect to examples—it often helps to work with someone when you are stuck).

3. Finally, with your map in hand, try to figure out the “logic” of these main points—that is, how do they all fit together to make a larger claim about education and our vocation as humans?

Quoting Be sure to use the handout on quoting and paraphrasing to make sure that you, as authors, are “driving” the summary. Poorly written summaries are those in which quotations “drive” the paper. Well-written summaries are those in which your ideas “drive” the paper. Quotations and examples ground a paper; YOU and YOUR PURPOSE drive a paper. Also be sure that you are framing all quotations (no dangling quotations). You must cite specific passages from the text and offer interpretations of those passages. Things to Avoid 1. One thing to avoid in this paper is a focus on comparing problem posing with banking style. Remember two things:

1. Both styles require memorizing, and 2. Freire is interested in the EFFECTS of the styles—what kinds of students/citizens each style creates.

2. Another thing you want to avoid is the “narrative approach” to summary. A narrative approach might read like this: “First Freire discusses banking style….next he discusses the problem posing style…then he goes on to discuss communication…finally, Freire discusses the elements of true dialogue…..” In an explanatory essay you don’t want to just narrate the “set up” of the piece. Instead, you want to offer an explanation of the main ideas and how they fit together, using illustrative examples that ground the abstract ideas in material examples (things you can point to in order to illustrate an idea). If you do the groundwork of clustering ideas you should be able to find themes that arise and use those to organize your summary. 3. A third thing to avoid is skipping the difficult parts. If you skip the difficult parts you won’t be capturing the heart of a challenging text. This is why I have you working collaboratively. If there is a concept, idea, or passage you don’t understand, work with others to figure it out (and ask me if you have questions too, I’m always happy to help you dig into ideas). 4. Finally, I know there are many summaries of Freire’s ideas available on the internet, and it’s fine to use these to make sense of the text we have read and discussed in class. However, I don’t want you to use those summaries in your summary (nor, obviously do I want you to plagiarize other people’s work—either by taking a phrase or a sentence or whole paragraphs without citing them). You can read those summaries and then go back to the Freire text and use them to make sense of particular passages, but do not use other people’s summaries in your summary (otherwise you will be missing the point of doing the intellectual work of capturing another’s ideas).

Assignment and Evaluation Rubric—English 191 Paper #1: Summary and Significance: Freire Dr. Fox Due: See Schedule


Final Note about Summary What makes summary of a challenging concept like Freire’s theory of humanizing education useful is not that we all summarize it in exactly the same way. Instead, what makes the summary useful is that we make sense of it by: 1) referring back to and accurately representing passages from the primary text; 2) putting your own unique ways of making meaning to work in how you arrange your explanation of the main

ideas and in the specific examples you provide to illustrate the author’s argument; and 3) discussing the significance of the each of the ideas throughout the paper. Format The final paper should be between 5-7 pages, double-spaced, 1” inch margins, 12 point font and should follow MLA style for in-text citations and works cited page.

Assignment and Evaluation Rubric—English 191 Paper #1: Summary and Significance: Freire Dr. Fox Due: See Schedule


Rubric Paper 1 Summary and Significance: Freire

D id

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A ve

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Ex ce

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Offers a clear and full summary of Freire’s ideas about education and our human vocation through explanation of the key concepts he presents

0 10 11 13 15

Uses textual evidence from Freire’s text to support your interpretation in the form of direct quotations and paraphrases

0 10 11 12 15

Offers an interpretation of all passages quoted and paraphrased from the text. (Does not allow quotes/paraphrased passages to “stand alone” or “speak for themselves”—no dangling quotes)

0 10 11 13 15

Offers examples that illustrate key elements of Freire’s argument that are relevant and potentially of interest to the primary audience of a university president or CEO

0 9 10 12 15

Explores and fully develops the significance of the key concepts in a way that is clearly targeted to the primary audience of a university president or CEO. In other words, fully addresses the “So what?” question in a way that is meaningful to a target audience

0 10 11 13 15

Offers a cohesive essay with a central point or set of central points to which all paragraphs adhere

0 9 10 12 15

Provides an interesting title that descriptively points to a central theme tied to the “So what?” question that will draw the attention of the primary audience

0 2 3 4 5

Uses MLA style (in-text parenthetical citations and works cited page). Avoids sentence level errors that are distracting to the reader

0 2 3 4 5


Total Points /10

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