Reflections about Education and Life

Carol A. Hand

Question everything based on what you have seen and experienced.
Consider all the evidence carefully before reaching conclusions.
Don’t automatically assume that those who claim to know everything
have the best interests of others in mind. Do they walk their talk?
How do they make you feel? Do their ideas unlock new possibilities
or imprison you in old paradigms that rob your life of beauty and hope?
Do they inspire you to learn, to liberate yourself and respect others as your kin?


Image: Community 

“That’s the first time someone told me what I think matters.”


Note: Reflections inspired by my students in our dialogue during yesterday’s research class.



12 thoughts on “Reflections about Education and Life

      1. Quote: “it’s also important to do so in relation to what others have arrived at through careful research and reflection.” Of course, Carol. My claim to think for yourself doesn’t mean that every idea you have must be freshly minted from nowhere. Every thought we have proceeds from previous thought; builds on the ideas of others. The point I am making is that such thinking must be made and claimed as one’s own so it has value and weight. Once I accept someone else’s thought, that thought becomes mine and I have to live and work with it. The greatest failing of academia, and why I’m glad I never had the resources to enter college or university, is that it promotes the concept that whatever any previous (preferably dead) famous person said remains the property of that dead person. No. If I, as a teacher, use quotes from, say, Mark Twain to make my students think, those MT ideas, through me, create new thinking persons. Not MT clones; not followers, not imitators but new thinkers with their own ideas expanded from a previous thinker. That’s the kind of mental evolution academia tries its best to prevent from happening because new thinkers become revolutionaries and revolutionaries have a habit of turning on the establishment. Academics, like any other profession based on “secret” cabal knowledge, don’t want to create revolutionaries, they want puppets. They want worshipers.

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        1. Thank you for sharing your perspectives, Sha’Tara. As someone who has worked in academia, I know all too well the repressiveness of hierarchical systems designed to enforce conformity and protect the status quo. I have chosen to return once again to challenge those approaches from the liberatory praxis foundation that has increasingly guided my work, and the work of the gifted educators it has been my privilege to work with. I am willing to work in the darkest of settings when I am able in order to shine a light there for the sake of those who seek knowledge to create a kinder world. Ultimately, the possibility of doing so gave me the tenacity to endure the many challenges I had to face to gain the necessary credentials. Yes, I had privileges to do so, but I use those privileges to help liberate others.

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    1. Ah yes, David. It is such a blessing to be able to work with students who have seldom heard that what they they think and have to share is valuable. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. 🙂


  1. As someone who grew up in the late sixties and seventies I was taught to question everything. I assumed everyone was. The oppressive concept of blind obedience snuck up on me (not IN me) when I realized how many people either didn’t understand that or forgot it. Very sad. We’ve been indoctrinated into a sterile existence in which greed and obedience are rewarded and critical thinking is perceived as a mental disorder. And things are continuing to spiral into an abyss of hate and ignorance.

    Thank you for your part in helping humanity find peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing important experiences, observations, and insights about the challenges of critical thinking. And thank you also for raising crucial social justice issues on your blog.

      Liked by 1 person

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