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Exercises for Critical Thinking and Discussion

Class room exercise: Using Critical Pedagogy to Dissent

Making the Minority Voice Heard

Professor: Brandi Lawless, University of San Francisco,  Assistant Professor, [email protected] 

Theme: Supreme Court, Dissent, Ethnic Studies Ban

Resource Description: This activity is designed to help students to problem-pose and think critically about policies/laws that influence education. Students will be exposed to U.S. policy and will be able to articulate a critical dissent of such documents.

This activity makes it possible for students to identify their own agency in relation to larger social practices, rather than remaining disconnected from dominant U.S. discourses. In other words, students begin to see themselves as individuals who are interpolated into larger systems of injustice that exist outside of individuals (Warren, 2010); then they are urged to consider their agency with regards to social policy (e.g. developing awareness, voting, communicating with lawmakers, etc.). As one student articulated in reflection after this activity, “Reading this bill made me realize that what we are learning in class doesn’t just stay in the classroom. I have to become more aware of what is actually happening in the world today and do something about it.” Through this lens, education has the potential to be liberating (Freire, 1970; hooks, 1994).


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