Mahbub Shah

MA Art Education - Thesis Projects

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Dissertation Abstract

There have been two opposite traditions of theory and practice of education both in the West as well as in our region: the mainstream formal tradition vs. the progressive or radical tradition.

The formal tradition is based on an essentially hierarchal pedagogical relationship between teacher and student and is marked by didactic methodology with an emphasis on learning as the accumulation of established forms of knowledge. The progressive/radical tradition is based on a non-hierarchal and collaborative/reciprocal pedagogical relationship between the teacher and student and is marked by a dialogical methodology with an emphasis on discovery, critical thinking and questioning.

In our context the tradition of people’s poetry in the people’s languages of Punjab and Sindh represent the radical tradition. All the people’s poets are unanimous and unequivocal in their criticism of the formal tradition for practicing and perpetuating the ethics of inequality and exclusivity based on the notions of difference and discrimination. These poets also propose a radical alternative of educative practices based on the ethics of equality and an all-inclusive egalitarian ideology.

Ideas of these poets regarding education seem to prefigure contemporary progressive thought on the subject and it is interesting how these radical traditions reflect each other. This correspondence between both traditions beyond the apparent remoteness in terms of time and space validates and underscores their universal importance.

This is a very basic overview of the people’s poetry seen as radical educative practice in comparison to contemporary thought on the subject, which calls for a more rigorous and concerted research in this field especially within an art education context.

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