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We Love Reading and transformative education

Becoming a transformative educator

In the video, we hear from Dr. Rana Dajani, founder of We Love Reading.

Rana describes how reading to children in local communities by teachers, parents and volunteers can encourage children to become avid readers and self-motivated learners. Rana says that reading stories in the children’s mother tongue about themes such as health, nutrition, disabilities, environment, bullying and gender has the potential to change behavior and attitudes. It can also create a movement that enhances lifelong learning and love for education even in the most difficult conditions.

In step 3.4 we discussed the role of teachers working in contexts of mass displacement, with limited resources and in teaching and learning spaces that are less than ideal. In addition to their role in the classroom as educators, teachers in such contexts can play a wider role to support children in the social environment they live in Aronowitz and Giroux (1985) who classify teachers as different categories of intellectuals: ‘hegemonic’, ‘accommodating’, ‘critical’, and ‘transformative’. In this step, we are giving an example where teachers can break out of their typical role within the classroom and become agents of change by reading stories to children and learners in the wider community outside of the confines of the school and the classroom. You can go back to week (2) and read again about the wider roles of educators under steps 2.2 and 2.3 where we discussed the implementation of Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory

It is important to point out that reading aloud for children on its own cannot replace the process of education. Also, selecting stories and material to be read can also be problematic, particularly when the values and messages in the books/ reading materials might reinforce negative attitudes and behaviours. For example, if we read stories such as Cinderella or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs without problematising the gender stereotypes they present, then we risk perpetuating inequalities and toxic gender dynamics and roles in society.

We need to think together about the idea of reading within the community and discuss how, through this activity, we can become transformative educators.

Over to you

Now that you have watched the video, we invite you to think about the following questions and share your reflections in the discussion forum below:

  • In the video, Rana talks about reading as an effective method of inculcating motivation for learning. In which ways do you think reading is a transformative activity?
  • What do you think is important to consider when selecting reading material?
  • How can we choose texts that promote transformative rather than hegemonic approaches to education?
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Transforming Education in Challenging Environments

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