The Myth of Independence as Better: Transforming Curriculum Through Disability Studies and Decoloniality
By situating this article within disability studies, decolonial studies and postcolonial studies, my purpose is to explore orientations towards independence within public school practices and show how this serves to reinforce hierarchies of exclusion. As feminist, queer and postcolonial scholar Ahmed (2006, p. 3) contends, “Orientations shape not only how we inhabit, but how we apprehend this world of shared inhabitance as well as ‘who’ or ‘what’ we direct our energy toward” (Ahmed, 2006, p. 3). I wonder how the policies and practices that I am oriented towards as a public school teacher limit the possibilities of encountering teaching and learning as a mode of reckoning and apprehending “this world of shared inhabitance?” I also wonder how remaining oriented towards independence as the goal of learning simultaneously sustains an adherence to colonial western logics under the current neoliberal ethos. Through Ahmed’s provocation I explore how the gaze of both teachers and students in public schools remains oriented towards independent learning in a manner that sustains conditions of exclusion, marginalization and oppression.
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