James D. Kirylo

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James D. Kirylo
2015-05-06 James Kirylo Southeastern faculty senate president.jpg
James D. Kirylo presiding at a university Faculty Senate meeting
NationalityUnited States
Occupationassociate professor
Academic background
InfluencesPaulo Freire, Oscar Romero, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Dorothy Day, John Dewey, Richard Rohr, Mother Teresa, Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther King Jr., Jean Piaget
Academic work
Main interestscritical pedagogy, curriculum theory, liberation theology, multiculturalism, literacy

James David Kirylo (born 1958 in Italy) is a university professor who teaches courses that examine concepts associated with critical pedagogy, teacher leadership, diversity and literacy. He is the author and editor of numerous publications. His latest book is Teaching with Purpose: An Inquiry into the Who, Why, and How We Teach.[1] Along with other books, Kirylo is also the author of Paulo Freire: The Man from Recife,[2] which is one of the most comprehensive texts in English on the life and thought of Paulo Freire, significantly contributing to Freirean scholarship.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Kirylo was raised in a Mediterranean seaside community called Tirrenia, between Livorno and Pisa in the Tuscany region of Italy. After his high school studies, he moved to the United States and studied education at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Upon receiving his degree in elementary education in 1981, Kirylo went on to teach elementary school[5] for 18 years in a variety of public and private school settings in three states, including working with the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity in Holy Trinity, Alabama.


James Kirylo

He later conducted his graduate work at the University of New Orleans, receiving two M.Ed. degrees and a Ph.D., focusing his studies on curriculum theory, critical pedagogy, liberation theology, and literacy. Kirylo is a faculty member in the College of Education and Human Development at Southeastern Louisiana University,[6] where he has served as president of the faculty senate.[7] He has also taught at the University of South Alabama, Universidad Evángelica del Paraguay, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

He sits on the Executive Board for the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI)[8] and the editorial boards for the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy[9] and Childhood Education.[10] He is a regular reviewer for those journals. Kirylo is best known for his contribution to critical pedagogy, diversity,[11][12] curriculum,[13] and liberation theology.[14]

In 2012, Kirylo received the Southeastern Louisiana University President's Award for Excellence in Research.[15]

Aspects of thought[edit]

Influenced by the work of Paulo Freire and other progressives, Kirylo suggests that education is not a neutral enterprise but a highly charged political affair, largely dictated by the voices that have the most capital power. More often than not, according to Kirylo, these particular voices have propagated a view of education and the notion of school reform as one that has morphed into a language that can be characterized as corporate speak.

Kirylo argues there are those who have become so enamored with the convenience of explaining school reform with detached terminology such as outcomes, results, performance, monetary rewards, takeover, competition, and comparing and contrasting that they have created a system analogous to describing a for-profit corporation, resulting in the creation of "winners" and "losers," ultimately fostering what he describes institutionalization of the depersonalization of education.[16] Consequently, in order to ascertain the accuracy of who the winners and losers are, the infrastructure that protects that interest has to be secured. In the end, Kirylo suggests this type of system fosters the objectification of school-aged children, possesses an extraordinarily distorted view of what is educationally important, and largely blames teachers for anything that ails education. Moreover, this type of system has fostered a subtle and not-so-subtle move systematically to deprofessionalize the notion of teacher education and the teaching profession in general, all of which reduces teachers into mechanical functionaries, seriously preventing them from fostering critical thought, innovation, and creativity in actual classroom practice. Not only asserting that to be called an educator is an incredible responsibility and an earned privilege requiring involvement in the political process, Kirylo argues that schooling is a complex affair, suggesting educators collectively unite in challenging systems that propagate a corporate point of view of education.

Research on Freire[edit]

In Paulo Freire: The Man from Recife, Kirylo makes the point that the notion of education "reform" is not what is needed. That is, the word "reform" only implies change or modification yet maintains the fundamental infrastructure of the existing system. Rather, what is needed, according to Kirylo, is radical, transformative change of the infrastructure of the system itself. He also points out that a beginning step toward that change is to reframe public discourse with concepts that explore schooling as a place where educators authentically tap into the multiple intelligences of naturally curious children, and discuss the meaning of engaged teaching, cultural relevance, meaningful learning, developmentally appropriate practice (DAP), and holistic assessment and where an authentic fostering of the professionalization of teaching exists. In the end, Kirylo states, schooling is about learning, and meaningful learning takes place in an arena where all children are invited to participate, not to compete.

See also[edit]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Kirylo, J. (2016). Teaching with Purpose: An Inquiry into Who, Why, and How We Teach. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Kirylo, J. (Ed.) (2013). A Critical Pedagogy of Resistance: 34 Pedagogues We Need to Know. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense.
  • Kirylo, J. (2011). Paulo Freire: The man from Recife. New York: Peter Lang.
  • Kirylo, J. & Nauman, A. K. (Eds.) (2010). Curriculum development: Perspectives from around the world. Olney, MD: Association of Childhood Education International (ACEI).
  • Kirylo, J. & McNulty, C. P. (2011). Introduction: Teacher education programs in the midst of change (Guest Editors for 2011 Annual Theme Issue). Childhood Education, 87(5), 315-317.
  • Kirylo, J. (2011, Spring). An Interview with Ana Maria (Nita) Araújo Freire. Childhood Education, 87(3), 191-195.
  • Kirylo, J. (2010, Fall). An Interview with Diane Ravitch. Childhood Education, 87(1), 48-52.
  • Kirylo, J. (2009, Fall). The power of relationship and behavior management. Childhood Education, 86(1), 33-34.
  • Kirylo, J. (2009, Spring). The election of Barack Obama: A teachable moment. Focus on Teacher Education: A Quarterly ACEI Publication for the Education Community, 9(3), 1, 6.
  • Kirylo, J. (2007) Ten essential practices and attitudes: A guide for school teachers. Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI SPEAKS Brochure).
  • Kirylo, J. & Nauman, A. (2006). The depersonalization of education and the language of accountability: A view from a local newspaper. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, (3)1, 187-206.
  • Kirylo, J. (2006). Preferential option for the poor: Making a pedagogical choice. Childhood Education, 82(5), 266-270 (Annual Theme Issue).
  • Kirylo, J. (2006). What parents need to know about standardized testing. Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI SPEAKS Brochure).
  • Kirylo, J. (2005/2006, Winter). Lessons: Katrina and Beginning Anew. Childhood Education, 82(2), 95-97.
  • Kirylo, J. (2005). Standards and the sliding accountability scale: The making of a highly qualified secretary of education. Focus on Teacher Education: A Quarterly ACEI Publication for the Education Community, 6(2),1,6-7.
  • Kirylo, J. (2005). The seduction of being entrenched in the circuit of our own truth and the antidote of humility. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, (2)2, 28-30.
  • Kirylo, J. (2005). Separation of church and state and public schools: A guide for parents. Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI SPEAKS Brochure).
  • Kirylo, J. (2004). Teaching, learning, and reflecting: Essays on education. Asunción, Paraguay: Facultad de Lenguas Vivas-Evangelical University of Paraguay.
  • Kirylo, J. (2004, Nov-Dec). Strange land. Radical Grace: A Publication of the Center for Action and Contemplation, 17(6), 11.
  • Kirylo, J. (2002, Octubre). La grave situación de los probes y la reforma escolar. Docente. Trans. José Antonio Alonso. Año 3, Número 30, pp. 34–37.
  • Kirylo, J. (2002, Agosto). "Yo enseño porque amo a los niños." Docente. Trans. José Antonio Alonso. Año 3, Número 28, pp. 16–20.
  • Kirylo, J. (2001, Spring). A historical overview of liberation theology: Some implications for the Christian educator. Journal of Research on Christian Education, 10(1), 53-86.
  • Kirylo, J. (1999). The discourse of the spirituality of liberation theology in curriculum theory. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 15(1), 77-87.


  1. ^ Kirylo, James D. (2016-05-02). Teaching with Purpose: An Inquiry into the Who, Why, And How We Teach. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 9781475812947.
  2. ^ University, Southeastern Louisiana. "News Release". Selu.edu. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2013-11-10.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Brief Review: Paulo Freire by James Kirylo [Vol. 4, #25.5]". The Englewood Review of Books. 2011-12-09. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
  5. ^ "National Writing Project". Nwp.org. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
  6. ^ "Welcome to PASS-PORT". selu.pass-port.org. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
  7. ^ Freese, David (2013-08-01). "Faculty Senate leader named". Daily Star. Hammond, Louisiana. p. 2A.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-01-11. Retrieved 2012-01-10.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-20. Retrieved 2012-01-10.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ The Election of Barack Obama: A Teachable Moment. Focus on Teacher Education: A Quarterly ACEI Publication for the Education Community, 9(3), 1, 6 by J. Kirylo (2009, Spring); Proyecto Kuatiañée: Saving a Language for Children. Childhood Education,81 (6), 349-354 (International Focus Issue) by A. Aquino & J. Kirylo (2005).
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-01-11. Retrieved 2012-01-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ Kridel, Craig (16 February 2010). "Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies". SAGE. Retrieved 10 September 2017 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ Abadie, Rene (August 2012). "Quality education for all children". Southeastern Magazine. Hammond, Louisiana: Southeastern Louisiana University. p. 6.
  16. ^ "The Depersonalization of Education and the Language of Accountability: A View from a Local Newspaper". Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy. 3: 187–206. doi:10.1080/15505170.2006.10411589.