Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day One Hundred Fifty: Ambiguous Assumption

Taking pictures of roots along the walk to school this morning. Here are some of the roots of my thesis, published back in 2006.
Ambiguous Assumptions
I propose this research within the assumption that the Canadian schools in which I have taught (rural, urban, private, band, public and community) are similar to other Canadian schools in that they are not free from racism or oppression. I assume that modern Canadian society is steeped in colonialism; and that many Canadian educators are unaware of the un-neutrality of their privileged status. I assume that, as Kumashiro (2004) says, “Anti-oppressive education is difficult to research and practice” (p. ix). I assume that I am not an expert, but a learner. I assume my white life is full of ambiguity.
I enter into this research in a less-than-hopeful state of being, and in m
y eleventh year of teaching, I am troubled by my lack of comfort in my profession. The more I know, the more I self-critique, the more I self-suspect. My feelings as I move toward this research are voiced by Kumashiro (2004) in his acknowledgements in Against Common Sense: “I began this book at a time when those difficulties overwhelmed my sense of self and my confidence in being able to make a difference for the students and teachers in our schools” (p. ix). I assume that this topic is overwhelming in scope.
My husband writes on my second draft, “This is interesting in the light of a profession that is supposed to be professional answer-ers, with no room for lack of confidence.”
I do not enter this research seeking definitives, rules, recommendations (although if they hit me over the head, I may pay attention). I’m searching for more.
Meaning: Why is this path worth this pain?
Permission: If I don’t act, and encourage others to act, who will?
Community: If we don’t work together toward change in society and ideology, who will?
Fun: If I have a grimace on my face, will I win people to my cause?
Courage: If I can’t bring all my passion, even anger, to the surface, where else will it go? “Feminism is also about reclaiming anger” (Briskin, 1994, p. 459). Perhaps my form of feminism will be classified a playful anger.
I assume that my research will be neither an exhaustive theorizing exercise, nor a prescriptive anecdote quest; rather, it will be a living story, perhaps offering solidarity
I am re-reading my thesis,
Cutting mercilessly.
I come to this space
And my sentence stops
“offering solidarity to…”
To whom?
I try to think of a witty twist,
A profound ending.
I look for a quote, half-heartedly.
I check older drafts to see if I lost something in the translation.
I check my proposal, and there are the missing lines.
Now I’m sad, wondering if I’ve found something that was meant to be lost.
Offering solidarity to…

Myself and colleagues
Within a call toward hope.
I assume there is hope.

Ambiguous Assumption.

            One more. Can I offer solidarity to someone? Or, is solidarity an action with someone, un-offered but given? Is solidarity an assumption when uninvited? Is solidarity ambiguous when offered?

Pages 24-26 in BLUE EYES REMEMBERING TOWARD ANTI-RACIST PEDAGOGY, A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research In Partial Fulfillment of the RequirementsFor the Degree of Master of Curriculum and Instruction In Education University of Regina By Sheena M. Koops Regina, Saskatchewan June 2006 ã June 2006: Sheena M. Koops

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