Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 2015

Department 1

Conservatory of Music


Among educators and philosophers alike, critical dialogue is widely regarded as one of the most effective ways to communicate and educate in the classroom. In his quintessential work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire reflects upon the importance of dialogue stating, “Only dialogue, which requires critical thinking, is also capable of generating critical thinking. Without dialogue, there is no communication, and without communication there can be no true education.” This point is reinforced in other notable texts such as Teaching as a Subversive Activity, which describes the “new education” as not only student and question centered, but “language-centered” as well. From a theoretical point of view, these approaches to learning bear merit and, in many cases, are effective when successfully applied in the field. However, with the dawn of the twenty-first century and the continued growth and complexity of globalization, these theories are in need of constant revisions as educators attempt to apply dated practices in an ever-changing society. Particularly in the United States of America, which since its inception, has maintained its reputation of a “melting pot” of peoples and cultures, it is vital that educators incorporate progressive interpretations of these principles in order to best enlighten, and therefore educate, an increasingly diverse population of students. Accompanied with a wide range of cultural beliefs that span numerous languages, educators currently face this paradox: How does one use dialogical tools to nurture what Freire deems “critical thinking” in classrooms where linguistic differences inhibit the implementation of these same tools? In response to this dilemma, the responsibility falls on music educators and administrators to develop policies that address the educational inequalities produced by the cultural and linguistic differences found in classrooms to provide an egalitarian and accessible education to all students that simultaneously encourages and utilizes dialogue and praxis.


Written for MUS CLAS 149: Social Foundations of Music.