I Love You Dr Maxine Greene

Maxine Greene

Maxine Greene

Maxine Greene



Maxine you will remain on my mind and on my heart for the rest of my life. Thank you for the many moments you shared with me. Your intellect, bravery, courage and elasticity to any situation presented to you is a real testament to what is needed and is good in mankind. I will miss you dearly. Maxine, I love you…


“There are no final words, but only questions.” – Maxine Greene



Joshua Katz’s Fabulous TED Talk on Our Toxic Culture of Education

Diane Ravitch's blog

Set aside about 17 minutes and watch this wonderful video. Joshua Katz, a high school teacher, connects all the dots.

This is a truly outstanding presentation. Watch it and help it go viral.

He shows how our present “toxic culture of education” is hurting kids, stigmatizing them as early as third grade by high-stakes standardized testing, while the vendors get rich.

He connects the dots: the testing corporations get rich while our children suffer. He names names: Pearson, McGraw-Hill, ALEC, and more.

The high-stakes tests demoralize many children, label them as worthless, demand “rigor,” while ignoring the children before us, their needs and their potential. As he says, we are judging a fish by whether he can climb a tree and labeling him a failure for his inability to do so. We ignore the development of non-cognitive skills, of character and integrity, as we emphasize test scores over all…

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“[O]f all our cognitive capacities, imagination is the one that permits us to give credence to alternative realities. It allows us to break with the taken for granted, to set aside familiar distinctions and definitions” (p. 3).   – Maxine Greene

During this recent spring semester (2014) Teachers College, Columbia University I had the fantastic opportunity to take a course from Dr Maxine Greene. This experience truly changed my life forever. My time with Maxine helped change the why I imagine the world and my place in it. Her attitude is amazing, and I truly love her incredible curiosity for the varieties of freedom that exist in the world. She has become my intellectual mentor. Her positive comments have helped me be braver and sure of the direction that I am traveling in. Her works, “The Dialectic of Freedom” as well as “Releasing the Imagination” have given me tremendous amounts of reflective material to build my understanding of freedom, power and the connection that the imagination has to it. She and Stephen D. Brookfield have given me an insight into critical pedagogy and its place in current education.


Aesthetic experience is tremendous! Thanks Maxine for allowing me into your home and sharing your thoughts with me. I love you and admire your courage. I hope that I will be half as productive and courageous as you!

Maxine Greene (born December 23, 1917) is an American educational philosopherauthorsocial activist, and teacher.

American educational philosopher, author, social activist and teacher who values experiential learning in its “entirety”, Maxine Greene has influenced thousands of educators to bring the vitality of the arts to teachers and children.[citation needed] For Greene, art provided a conduit to mean-making, a way of making sense of the world. For more than 30 years she has been Lincoln Center Institute (LCI)[1] philosopher-in-residence.

Greene earned her PhD. (1955) and M.A. (1949) from New York University and a B.A. from Barnard CollegeColumbia University (1938). She taught at New York University,Montclair State College and Brooklyn College. In 1965, she joined the faculty at Teachers College, Columbia University.[2]

In 1973 she was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto II.[3] As Philosopher-in-Residence of Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education since 1976, Greene conducts workshops (especially in literature as art) and lectures at LCI’s summer sessions.[4]

In 2003, she founded the Maxine Greene Foundation for Social Imagination, the Arts, and Education.[5] The foundation supports the creation and appreciation of works that embody fresh social visions. Its goal is “to generate inquiry, imagination and the creation of art works by diverse people.”[6] Grants of up to $10,000 are awarded to educators and artists.

In 2005, she inspired the creation for the High School of Arts, Imagination and Inquiry[7] in association with LCI and New Visions for Public Schools.[8][9] The school encourages students to expand their imaginative capacities in the arts and other subject areas.

Greene is past President of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Philosophy of Education SocietyAmerican Educational Studies Association (AESA), and theMiddle Atlantic States Philosophy of Education Society.


She is the recipient of honorary degrees in the Humanities from Lehigh UniversityHofstra University, the University of Colorado at DenverIndiana UniversityGoddard College,Bank Street CollegeNazareth College (Rochester, New York), McGill UniversityCollege Misericordia, and Binghamton University.

She was awarded the Medal of Honor from Teachers College and Barnard College; Educator of the Year Award from Phi Delta Kappa; the Scholarly Achievement Award from Barnard College; AERA’s Lifetime Achievement Award; and received a Fulbright Program fellowship, which took her to New Zealand.

In 2004, the Teachers College Trustees created the Maxine Greene Chair for Distinguished Contributions to Education.


Major works:

  • The public school and the private vision : a search for America in education and literature (New York : Random House, 1965)
  • Critical Literacy: Politics, Praxis, and the Postmodern (State University of New York, 1993)
  • Existential Encounters for Teachers (Random House, 1967)
  • The Dialectic of Freedom (Teacher’s College Press, 1988)[10]
  • Landscapes of Learning (Teacher’s College Press, 1978)[11]
  • A Light in Dark Times: Maxine Greene and the Unfinished Conversation, with William Ayers & Janet L. Miller (Teachers College Press, 1997)[12]
  • The Public School and the Private Vision: A Search for America in Education and Literature (Jossey Bass Publishers, 1965)[13]
  • Teacher as Stranger: Educational Philosophy for the Modern Age (Wadsworth Publishing, 1973)
  • Variations on a Blue Guitar: The Lincoln Center Institute Lectures on Aesthetic Education (Teacher’s College Press, 2001)[14]
  • Releasing the Imagination: Essays on Education, the Arts, and Social Change (National Association of Independent Schools, 2004)[15]

Other important works include:

  • Arts and the Search for Social Justice (Lecture at The Maxine Greene Foundation for Social Imagination, The Arts & Education, 2003)
  • Active Learning and Aesthetic Encounters (Talks at the Lincoln Center Institute, National Center for Reconstructing Education, Schools and Teaching, 1994)
  • Education, Freedom and Possibility (Russell Lecture, 1975)
  • Lending the Work your Life: A Celebration with Maxine Greene (Lincoln Center Institute, 2006)[16]
  • Naturalist-humanism in eighteenth century England: An Essay in the Sociology of Knowledge (Thesis, 1956)
  • A Teacher Talks to Teachers: Perspectives on the Lincoln Center Institute (Lincoln Center, 1980)


Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014)


Maya Angelou Quote

Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Ann Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an American author and poet. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning more than fifty years. She received dozens of awards and over thirty honorary doctoral degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of seventeen, and brought her international recognition and acclaim.

She became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, prostitute, night-club dancer and performer, cast-member of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the days of decolonization. She was an actor, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs. Since 1982, she taught at Wake Forest University in Winston-SalemNorth Carolina, where she holds the first lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies. She was active in the Civil Rights movement, and worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Since the 1990s she made around eighty appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton‘s inauguration, the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy‘s inauguration in 1961.

With the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou publicly discussed aspects of her personal life. She was respected as a spokesperson of black people and women, and her works have been considered a defense of black culture. Although attempts have been made to ban her books from some US libraries, her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide. Angelou’s major works have been labeled as autobiographical fiction, but many critics have characterized them as autobiographies. She made a deliberate attempt to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing, and expanding the genre. Her books center on themes such as racism, identity, family, and travel. Angelou is best known for her autobiographies, but she is also an established poet, although her poems have received mixed reviews.

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What is Hip Hop Pedagogy? 


As a current graduate student in the Music & Music Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University I have decided to write frequently and persuasively about Hip Hop Pedagogy in the domain of music education. My name is Jarritt A Sheel and I am currently a Ed.D. student in the Music & Music Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. I am an avid fan of hip-hop music and hip-hop culture, a professional musician (trumpet), I lead a jazz big band, and I have been a music educator for the past 15 years. I am throughly enamored by all art forms, but specifically the medium sound we call Music.

As a child I was pretty lucky to grow up during the period leading up and encompassing what many consider the “Golden Age of Hip -Hop”, the period of the late 1980’s until the mid-1990’s. My mother was born in the 1950’s, which meant she was a member of the baby-boomer generation, post WWII. She grew up listening to all sorts of Rock, Blues, Funk, Soul, etc. You name it, it was on the radio and she probably had a copy of that record in her collection. She introduced me to the world of music and more importantly fostered my curiosity about the then expanding field of hip-hop music. She bought me a RUN DMC record and took me to see, although we both didn’t know what it was about, “Tougher Than Leather”. After bout 30 minutes of this early hip-hop movie featuring RUN DMC, The Beastie Boyz and many other Def Jam label artist, we exited stage left… because I was merely 12 years old. However, she sparked within me the love for controversial art and more importantly that of Hip-Hop.

Hip Hop is an original art culture that rose out of the metropolis of New York City, specifically the Bronx, in the 1970’s. It is an American folk music that has traditions, like all American Folk, in telling the story of the people. A matter of fact I would go as far as saying that Hip Hop is the greatest of all American Folk musics. It is wonderful, sublime, hideous, grotesque, lustful, beautiful, ugly, mournful, celebratory, liberating, and oppressive all at the same time. The time period out of which hip-hop grew, the 1970’s, was a particularly frustrating time in America for the middle and lower socio-economic groups in the area of finance and social mobility. Introduce the 1973 oil crisis, Urban Decay, and the financial meltdown of one of the biggest cities in the nation (looming financial default of New York City late 1970’s) and you have a potent cocktail for failure amongst those living near, on or below the poverty line. 

The 1970’s was all ready an interesting time of contraction and expansion. The nation was expanding its identity while those involved in social-economic engineering, outside of academia, were looking at the contraction of the wealthy through the monopolization of the free market. A great example of that would be the movie “Trading Places” starring young Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackryod. Which loosely discusses, through comedic foils, the intentional and systematic engineering of the socio-economic structure in America. The Bronx was burning and the music, like art always does, told the story. These are the lyrics of the early hip-hop group Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five hit “The Message”


[Intro x2]

It’s like a jungle sometimes

It makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under


[Verse 1]

Broken glass everywhere

People pissin’ on the stairs, you know they just don’t care

I can’t take the smell, can’t take the noise

Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice

Rats in the front room, roaches in the back

Junkies in the alley with a baseball bat

I tried to get away but I couldn’t get far

Cause a man with a tow truck repossessed my car



Don’t push me cause I’m close to the edge

I’m trying not to lose my head

It’s like a jungle sometimes

It makes me wonder how I keep from going under


[Verse 2]

Standin’ on the front stoop hangin’ out the window

Watchin’ all the cars go by, roarin’ as the breezes blow

Crazy lady, livin’ in a bag

Eatin’ outta garbage pails, used to be a fag hag

Said she’ll dance the tango, skip the light fandango

A Zircon princess seemed to lost her senses

Down at the peep show watchin’ all the creeps

So she can tell her stories to the girls back home

She went to the city and got so so seditty

She had to get a pimp, she couldn’t make it on her own




[Verse 3]

My brother’s doin’ bad, stole my mother’s TV

Says she watches too much, it’s just not healthy

All My Children in the daytime, Dallas at night

Can’t even see the game or the Sugar Ray fight

The bill collectors, they ring my phone

And scare my wife when I’m not home

Got a bum education, double-digit inflation

Can’t take the train to the job, there’s a strike at the station

Neon King Kong standin’ on my back

Can’t stop to turn around, broke my sacroiliac

A mid-range migraine, cancered membrane

Sometimes I think I’m goin’ insane

I swear I might hijack a plane!




[Verse 4]

My son said, Daddy, I don’t wanna go to school

Cause the teacher’s a jerk, he must think I’m a fool

And all the kids smoke reefer, I think it’d be cheaper

If I just got a job, learned to be a street sweeper

Or dance to the beat, shuffle my feet

Wear a shirt and tie and run with the creeps

Cause it’s all about money, ain’t a damn thing funny

You got to have a con in this land of milk and honey

They pushed that girl in front of the train

Took her to the doctor, sewed her arm on again

Stabbed that man right in his heart

Gave him a transplant for a brand new start

I can’t walk through the park cause it’s crazy after dark

Keep my hand on my gun cause they got me on the run

I feel like a outlaw, broke my last glass jaw

Hear them say “You want some more?”

Livin’ on a see-saw




[Verse 5]

A child is born with no state of mind

Blind to the ways of mankind

God is smilin’ on you but he’s frownin’ too

Because only God knows what you’ll go through

You’ll grow in the ghetto livin’ second-rate

And your eyes will sing a song called deep hate

The places you play and where you stay

Looks like one great big alleyway

You’ll admire all the number-book takers

Thugs, pimps and pushers and the big money-makers

Drivin’ big cars, spendin’ twenties and tens

And you’ll wanna grow up to be just like them, huh

Smugglers, scramblers, burglars, gamblers

Pickpocket peddlers, even panhandlers

You say “I’m cool, huh, I’m no fool”

But then you wind up droppin’ outta high school

Now you’re unemployed, all null and void

Walkin’ round like you’re Pretty Boy Floyd

Turned stick-up kid, but look what you done did

Got sent up for a eight-year bid

Now your manhood is took and you’re a Maytag

Spend the next two years as a undercover fag

Bein’ used and abused to serve like hell

Til one day, you was found hung dead in the cell

It was plain to see that your life was lost

You was cold and your body swung back and forth

But now your eyes sing the sad, sad song

Of how you lived so fast and died so young so



This great work of Hip Hop Culture was a signal of the disparity that existed amongst the haves and have-nots here in NYC. It is still apparent where the disparity existed over 40 years ago. Those lines of stratification (scars) can still be seen on the geography – travel ways of NYC (bus, train, road, subway). It can be seen in the topography of the Bronx. It can be most distinctly heard on the music of the era and the area. I was forever changed by hip-hop music and the culture coming out of NYC in the 1980’s through the 1990’s as a young person. It continued in my adult life through the far-reaching effects of the dissemination of hip-hop culture in my community through people like Uncle Luke, 2 Live Crew, jam Pony Express, Dj Uncle Al, and the list goes on. But one thing remain, the fact that it was a folk music, and illegal to be played on most radio stations. It was the voice of the youth and the changing culture here in America. It was, like the above transcribed lyrics of that famous piece “The Message” a polaroid of the climatic time period in which it was created. This Polaroid is a reflection of the critical thinking that was happening during that time period. It is my assertion that Hip Hop Culture is not only an artistic expression of the counterculture in NYC during the 1970- 1990’s but more importantly it is a critical reflection of American culture. In critical theory terms, it helped a whole generation estrange themselves from the ideological sediment of the time.



Pedagogy: the method and practice of teaching, esp. as an academic subject or theoretical concept.

To be involved in a Hip Hop Pedagogy is to welcome an invitation into the shared reality of those that are participants in it. It is to enable all of its inhabitants with the tools and choice to intervene in the transformation of their world. It is a solicitation to become more involved in democratic debate about the state of our society, culture, country and community on multiple layers and perspectives.  The discourse of power and freedom inherent in the subject of Hip-Hop culture is something that should be readily used in the instruction of the student. Typically, it’s the student’s want and need to develop a deeper understanding of the world and their place in it. The culture begs for the participant to share their voice in the debate. The history of Hip-Hop is one of controversy and crisis wrapped up in a palatable feast of beats & lyrics served on top of a plate of graffiti. The accompanying libation is a dark burgundy one named “Chateau de Breaking; popping and locking”, which is served in a wineglass constructed of community activism and multicultural advocacy (critical race theory).

So, what does Hip-Hop pedagogy look like? It is a contemporary form of democratic education, which invites heavy student involvement in the construction of the classroom and the lesson (Brooks & Brooks). It advocates for the whole development of the student as total human being, rather than simply as a citizen or participant. It evokes the development of the self and more specifically the individual’s voice. Hip-Hop is not merely the music of a specific ethnic or socio-economic group. It is a culture that developed, like many in American history out of the crisis, conflict and controversy of the time. More importantly it is a discourse that is centered on the concepts of power and freedom, and is inclusive of the educative process we call life.

Classes & courses that are developed in the domain of Hip-Hop pedagogy should make the participants question their surroundings, situatedness, and circumstances.  Hip-Hop pedagogy should also be a multilayered approach. It is one that engages students where they are and uses a variety of the elements found in the culture to proctor aesthetic experiences for and in the participants (disruptions). Hip-Hop pedagogy is a circuit that connects teacher & student, citizen & community and society & culture to one another. This circuit allows for the exchange of ideas and understandings, with the goal of joint meaning making to happen. It is elastic and flexible with a structure that is informed by the past (traditions), but bound only by the imagination.

Hip Hop Pedagogy should help immerse the participants in awareness in all of the various tenses that they exist (Past, present & Future). Past tense shall be defined as the critical reflection, Present tense is the acute awareness of “Now” and the Future tense is that of the ever evolving imagination of “What If.” These three tenses are all important in the development of the totality of the humanism that we all have. It’s not simply a means to end, or an end unto itself, but is more radically involved in the process of ever becoming more than before. Hip -Hop Pedagogy is a critical take on multiple openings and entry points contained in a relevant wrapper.

Hip-Hop is in its essential and rawest form, uses the power of the imagination. It takes place in the virtual space of the mind for those that implore it to express the lived world experiences that they’ve engaged in. Hip-Hop is dance, clothing, speech, literature, visual art, code & symbol, music, and everyday life. It is a way of living like those of jazz, country, rock, folk, punk, funk, soul and a whole myriad of other musical cultures that sprung up from the well-spring of America culture. Each of which have its own unique style of life.

Hip-Hop pedagogy should be centered on the concepts of agency, activism, and democracy, open spaces, open encounters, inclusion, lived worlds and shared realities. The lyrics of some of the finest hip-hop songs speak eloquently about the lived experiences (worlds) of those involved. They (songs) talk about socio-economic disparity in society and the discourse(s) of power and freedom. Hip-hop pedagogy is about creating an exchange in various forms on multiplicity of levels. The art of Banksy and Lee Quinone’s, the beats of J- Dilla and MF Doom, the lyrics of Rakim and Drake all speak for and about those in a similar group of society, or is it that they speak for every man? Everything that is folk (counterculture) ultimately becomes part of the popular. That point speaks to the cyclical nature of the various discourses involved in hip-hop culture and more specifically hip-hop pedagogy. It’s about the turning over of the traditional to make way for the innovation (R. Barthes). It’s about allowing the student the opportunity to be involved in crafting their understanding of the world around them while giving them voice.

How can we use Hip Hop Pedagogy, which I will help flush out the literature in future post – scholarship, in the domain of Music Education? Well, there lies the rub. American Music Education, that dubious character, first has to acknowledge Hip-Hop as a musical form worthy of study. Then and only then can we actively … as a whole use hip-hop pedagogy as a integrated part of music education in our classrooms. Let me clarify right now, there are band directors and art educators that have been and are currently using hip hop pedagogy in their classrooms and studio environments, all over American and furthermore .. the world. However, it is not currently accepted as a valid form or music or culture by academia and the aesthetic police. The aesthetic police are those that assert themselves to the grand title of judge of which aesthetic experiences as well as how they “should be” used in the context of learning. They are rarely correct, and even when they are …typically use this opportunity to pontificate about their rightness. We see this every week on the various news outlets, and can only surmise that this type of policing has been going on for sometime in culture..period.


So, if we are to have a through discussion on the use of Hip Hop Pedagogy in the Music Classroom… we must first start with the unpacking of the music’s validity. We must say that Hip Hop is real music and it is worthy of study in major universities and music programs. We also have to give room and space for all other forms of American folk, but that discussion can be tabled until another time soon coming.

I hope you enjoyed this first rant on the Hip Hop Pedagogy and Music Education. I will try my best to write as often and eloquently as I possibly can to showcase the need to talk about the power, effectiveness as well as the need for such programing.




Jarritt A Sheel