Pedagogical Example 4

Since I'm not doing any sort of teaching this semester, I've been having a difficult time finding current examples of feminist pedagogy. This leads me to think of my experiences as a student, and the structure of most of my past classes seem very standard--they're either discussion or lecture or a mixture of both. One class that stands out to me as giving a unique and positive experience was one in which a history professor created a course about developing and producing a museum exhibit. This professor was a local historian of the area our university was in and she wrote a book about a specific historical event. She had her class read the book and create an exhibit around it to be installed in the town's museum. This class was also co-taught by the history professor and the museum director, and at each of our classes they were both present. There were about 15-20 people in the class and after our class discussed what should be the main proponents of the exhibit we split into groups which suited our own particular areas of interest--my area dealt with sensational fiction that was inspired by this historical event and I worked with 3 other people. Throughout the semester we worked on creating the exhibit and by the following semester our exhibit was installed in the museum. Many of the students after the semester ended volunteered at the museum giving tours of the exhibit; and some got internships at the museum the following year.

This museum course exemplified feminist pedagogical principles since it was radically different from the standard lecture/discussion based classes. Being involved in an active classroom changed my perspective about what education could do. The students also had much of the authority in the decision making processes and in that we felt a kind of agency that is usually stifled in standard classes. It was also very powerful to see work that is started in the classroom expanded to the larger community. Another aspect of this class that shows feminist pedagogical principles is that it was co-taught and this helps to de-center authority and shows that professors don't have absolute knowledge and collaboration helps to expand the class resources and knowledge.

I think an obvious question for this active classroom is if it is feasible for many classes? I think having this type of active classroom would require lots of planning, opportunity, and may not be appropriate for all disciplines. I think I was lucky to take this course, but I don't know if it could happen at all universities.

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