Term of Award

Spring 2001

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

William M. Reynold

Committee Member 1

Gregory Dmitriyev

Committee Member 2

Dorothy A. Battle

Committee Member 3

Gary Hytrek


Many students are entering college today with twelve years of exposure to what Paulo Freire (1990) calls "Banking Education". In banking education, the teacher assumes the role of depositor of the dominant discourse's "Truths". Teachers take on the role of subject, and the students remain the object of the educational process. Because of its hegemonic nature, this kind of education renders many students voiceless, marginalized and "underprepared". These students are educated, but with a domesticating rather than a liberating or empowering education, and a functional rather than a powerful literacy (Finn, 1999). They do "know," but they do not know how or why they know or how to critically weave their knowledge into meaningful action.

Through this critical action research. I used critical pedagogy to introduce marginalized students to the potential power of critical literacy. I hoped to ascertain if, through such an introduction the students would, indeed, become empowered. The data source that drove the research, as well as the course, were the continual discussions which Freire refers to in Pedagogy of the Oppressed as "the essence of education as a practice of freedom" (1998. p.8).

I found that even this elementary introduction to critical literacy through critical pedagogy gave these students a new faith in their own potential. One semester of introduction to such a perspective laid the framework from which the students were empowered to continue on their own.


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