DATE: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
TIME: 11:00 a.m
PLACE: Room G, Ladera Lane campus
CANDIDATE: Stacy Warnock Pulice
DISSERTATION TITLE: "The Colonized Child--Love, Community, and Wholeness as Necessary Elements of Education"
PROGRAM-TRACK/YEAR: PhD-J; 2005
CHAIR: Dr. Aaron Kipnis
READER: Dr. Jennifer Freed
EXTERNAL READER: Dr. William Heywood
Pulice, S. (2013). The Colonized Child--Love, Community, and Wholeness as Necessary Elements of Education (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2013)
Key concepts in liberation psychology describe the treatment and regard for children in public school: oppression, colonization, hegemony. This study asked whether public education is experienced as oppressive, creating students who are colonized. Through a frame of liberation psychology and a depth psychological perspective, the study examines whether children are systematically “civilized” by the dominant adult population. Is the indigenous child—the child born with unique intelligence, knowledge and desire to learn—systematically stifled within the existing educational paradigm?
Findings revealed several practices at the Middle School enhanced learning, personal empowerment, self-esteem, and happiness, and were termed Liberatory. Most significant was whole-child value, where non-academic strengths, intrinsic worth, and creativity were valued. Mutual, positive, connected relationship between teacher and student was primary, enhanced by trips outside of school with faculty, emphasizing character and life lessons. Acceptance permeated the peer environment.
Practices at the public high school, referred to as Oppressive, contributed to alienation, separation, fear, boredom and disincentive to learning. Focus on right answers on tests encouraged memorization/forgetting, paradoxically described as “academic” by students, and creativity was not valued. Students cited teacher overwhelm as the main reason for the absence of connected relationship between educators and students. Judgment permeated the peer environment.
Participants were 10 females between 18 and 20 years old who attended a private middle school that practiced humanistic, whole-child learning, and a public high school in Santa Barbara, CA. A Likert survey asked 25 identical questions regarding experience of both schools, followed by in-depth interview highlighting the difference between the subject’s experience of both schools. Using hermeneutic data evaluation, Findings fell into 4 strong themes at 2 poles of experience and practice: Liberatory and Oppressive.
There was 1 significant exception to the clear pattern in Findings: a teacher within the Oppressive system used Liberatory practices effectively. Simple changes like respect, care, listening, and personal connection could increase learning and happiness in school.Please note: .Parking is available on the Ladera Lane campus. Please do not try to shuttle to campus.