Class Notes-- Discussion of Kumashiro's "Troubling Education"

In today's class, we discussed Kevin Kumashiro's Troubling Education: Queer Activism and Antioppressive Pedagogy (2002). As the title points to, Kumashiro attempts to talk about what it means to do antioppressive pedadgogy in the k-12 setting. He pushes for a post-structuralist viewpoint of pedagogy, emphasizing the import of reflexivity and always partial knowledge of both students and teachers. Kumashiro also attempts to practice that post-structuralism in his composition of the book, by presenting long vignettes of people he spoke with, as well as poems that he constructed from his interviews. In so doing, he attempts to challenge the readers to remain aware that knowledge is always an interpretation of an interpretation.

Our class discussion focused on the limits and boundaries of anti-oppressive education, and specifically the extent to which it can or should overlap with personal/home life.

Below, you will find the twitter feed of the discussion, as well as my own post-class thoughts.*

madisonvo official live tweet of #fp2010, commence!

madisonvo Sarah and the "Queer This" activity: what does confronting students look like online?

madisonvo Brittany and Meg: students need to be pushed to be bold an theoretical.. Danny has students citing the Bible... how and when to censor?

madisonvo meg: difference between opening up discussion for author and for rest of class, but reina says both discussions can still be productive

I think these are all great questions, and hark back to our earlier discussions on power and authority in the classroom. When is it ok to wield our authority? When something oppressive is taking place? How do we protect students from oppressive comments within the classroom while also making them, as Reina says, teaching moments? See later discussion (and Kumashiro) on crisis in the classroom.

madisonvo i wonder how we define productive discussions in *any* context

madisonvo what's the difference between persuasion and proselytizing? should we have ground rules or a group discussion?

This distinction between having rules and not also makes me think about Kumashiro's structuring of his argument, and how, surprisingly, many of his analytics tend to fit into nice, neat boxes. When are those boxes helpful? When should we opt for ambiguity?

madisonvo megs q: what's the purpose of higher ed?

This is such a big question, and I admit I was somewhat relieved when Meg further explained that her question was about charting and questioning the boundaries between education and anti-oppressive transformation. Are or should the be distinct? In what cases? I think we all agreed that ideally, education and transformation go hand in hand. However, as Brittany so aptly pointed out with her example of her partner's program, this is often not the case, and not really feasible

madisonvo how do different teachers reach students and experience crisis in the classroom?

madisonvo danny: how do teachers take risks in the era of standards and assessments?

Even though rebuilding the entire system of education is unlikely, I think we did a good job of considering ways in which individual teachers (and hopefully that includes us) can challenge existing paradigms.

madisonvo alissa's q: is the tension between home and school productive in k-12 ed?

madisonvo sarah: does social media help students work through those crises?

There were a lot of great points made in this part of the discussion. For some students,bringing theory into the personal realm is extremely difficult. But Brittany challenged us to continue pushing those boundaries. I think a lot of this discussion also has to do with space and expectations about what goes on in certain spaces...see below.

madisonvo skeptic: is it ever to late for anti-oppressive education?

madisonvo meg says: we are constantly negotiating our identities. kumashiro says poststructuralism allows us to unveil process of citation

madisonvo sara: all knowledge is partial, so we should be able to incorporate and trouble non-academic knowledge

madisonvo kumashiro is teaching about oppression rather than teaching us about teaching anti-oppression

madisonvo and teaching about post-structuralism rather than how to teach through a post-structural viewpoint, i would add

I've been thinking a bit more about Kumashiro's conclusion and what he is trying to accomplish. While I admire the commitment to challenging himself through a post-structuralist lens, I do think it obscures his (or what I view to be) more important goals of the book. The conclusion implies that loyalty to post-structuralist writing is more important than teaching people how to do anti-oppressive pedagogy.

madisonvo 'it doesn't matter what sources they use, but does it allow for discussion?' -sarah

madisonvo meg: "i hate it when people try to teach me things, but i love to learn"

Here is where I began to really think about the importance of space and social expectations. People are expected to learn things in school, but not so much in the home, and especially when not when coming from subordinate members of the home. My step grandfather's favorite remark when I attempt to challenge his extreme and overt sexism/racism/homophobia is "This is my house and I'll do what I want." I guess in that sense, the significance of space speaks to how power and authority is always in flux across time and space

madisonvo sara: how are teachers (dis/en)couraged to be patient?

madisonvo END live tweet #fp2010


*Thanks to Brittany for providing this great model of presenting the class discussion and notes.


Some reflexive thoughts on live tweeting class: This assignment was much more difficult than I expected. As I began, I was unsure of how to best document what was being said. At what points should I summarize, and at what points should I take down direct quotes? What are the benefits and drawbacks of an almost transcript-like documentation of class? I think the post-class reflections help alleviate this issue.

Of course it's also problematic to decide which comments are worth tweeting. Whose voices am I privileging in this online record? For instance, I notice that I tweeted quite a bit of what Meg said, but I don't think she talked much more than other people. Is there merit to trying to present a more 'accurate' or 'truthful' depiction of the discussion? I suppose all I can really do is present my own experience of it.

I also had trouble dealing with the live tweet from a pragmatic standpoint. I found it much more difficult to fully engage in the classroom discussion. To my amusement, I also was 'tweeted at' while I was live tweeting. I had to negotiate whether I should respond to that tweet at the expense of interrupting the live tweet. But, it made me consider in which moments trouble and interruptions are productive (a terribly loaded word, I know).

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