Thelin, William. “William H Thelin’s Response to Russell Durst.” College Composition and Communication. 58.1 (2006): 114-118. Print.
In this response to Russell Durst’s critique of Thelin’s article “Understanding problems of Critical Pedagogy,” he acknowledges that he made himself vulnerable to sweeping generalizations by admitting that he had a disastrous section of composition. He asserts, however, that the goal of the article was to scrutinize a problematic classroom in order to complicate the “this doesn’t work” response.
Thelin says Durst isn’t critiquing his findings, but is critiquing Thelin’s interpretation of critical pedagogy. He claims that Durst wants him to say that critical pedagogy is ineffective, but his data, he asserts does not support that. Thelin details the oversights, errors, and misunderstandings that he says Durst made in his critique.
Thelin also addresses Dursts depiction of critical pedagogy as confrontational: “Critical pedagogy is not confrontational. It is dialogic. Confrontation springs from authoritarianism on the part of the teacher” (115).
Thelin says that while he did not appreciate the tenor of Durst’s critique, he can appreciate the concern and believes that the actual tenets and practices of critical pedagogy need to be discussed and that it needs to be discussed in more precise language. For example:
Critical theory is certainly deployed by critical pedagogues, but in and of itself, critical theory does not constitute the enactment of critical pedagogy, which Russel admits. In the same sense, students can work collaboratively, as they often do in critical classrooms, but collaboration by itself is not critical pedagogy. Critical pedagogy blends these elements together. Some critical pedagogues do not experiment with power sharing, per se, but they still adhere to Freire’s belief in listening to the students and asking key questions about whom the classroom serves and whom it acts against. The students’ cultures and beliefs are accounted for in such courses, as critical pedagogy responds to local conditions (118).