How to Begin to Know What You Didn’t Know – Bonnie Sunstein

by stronged

(Bowman, Paddy; Hamer, Lynne, Oct 16, 2011, Through the Schoolhouse Door: Folklore, Community, Curriculum. Utah State University Press. Logan. ISBN: 9780874218602)

When I experienced Bonnie Sunstein in person at the NonFiction Now conference I was excited to discover her literature and further teachings about pedagogy.

Her sentiment inspired me to track down Through the Schoolhouse Door: Folklore, Community, Curriculum as she had written it’s Forward.

The text is a compilation of case studies taken from around North America about how important community engagement and cultural identity is for school children and teens. Raymond William’s termed the approach of taking children out of the classroom and into public spaces “public pedagogy.” (xiii) A similar concept to the old African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.” I wholeheartedly believe that exposure to the wider community is integral for the sound development of a child, both in relation to their identity of self as much as gaining pragmatic, experiential knowledge about living in their contemporary environment.

In a funny twist of synchronicity, Sunstein quotes Paulo Freire, that we “read the world” in order to “read the word” (xii) and not the other way round. Through discovering certain routines of specific community members students understand that “we become just by doing just acts, termperate by doing temperate ones, brave by doing brave ones.” (Aristotle) (xii) Therefore they may begin to understand where they will perhaps fit into the community and move towards a sustainable future.