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October 30, 2008

Pedagogical question of the day.

Pedagogical question of the day.
Notes taked by Teresa

When personal experience comes out in the class, how do we know it is relevant? Has it to be first examined to become a good pedagogical experience?

-When students read literature in class and say: “I have no connection with these characters�. That is a limited response, a limited experience, a narrow view and it doesn’t help. It needs some teacher intervention.

-When identification with the experience presented doesn’t fit with the material, it is not relevant. Teacher wants students to engage with the text.

-It is necessary to filter the information through your own experience. For instance, Gloria Anzaldúa’s experiences: what kind of experience you need to match the experiences presented in the reading? Sometimes experience has to do with how we handle it.

-Include Orner reading in this question: Do teachers oppress with some texts? Because I have to dismiss some experience that seems irrelevant, is my action authoritarian?
Do teachers have to explain what a relevant experience is? I don’t think this works.

- Experience has to be critically expressed.

-Do we accept expected responses only? The problem is that students are not “getting it� and therefore teachers had to explain. However, who I am to question their voice?

- Do we have to engage with experience?
- Does theory withstand experience? How does theory look in the classroom?

- Read some assumption to students, make students contest these assumptions. Students will take their experiences to challenge those assumptions. We operate over the assumption that racism, sexism exists, and then go on.

-About voice: I question what Orner says in p. 81
Experience is constantly changing. Is the teacher silencing or oppressing that changing reality?

-Voices are not only about students. It is also to acknowledge critical interrogation of your own voice. Recognizing that you are part of this experience.

-Students bring different voices.

-How do you make explicit all this at the beginning of a course?

-Your voice: confessing. Pedagogy involves being honestly up front.

-Teacher is in power position and power is a consequence of discourse-knowledge.

-Do Sorkin and Orner contradict or complement each other about experience? I think reflexion is needed instead of raw experience.

-To understand oppression more clearly, it has to be linked with experience.

- Who owns experiences? We own ours. But individual experience is not only about us.

-Connecting your own experience with the bigger picture, the social factor and connect them (all experiences).

- Sociological point of view looks at the greater experience of most people.

October 23, 2008

News from Yesterday's Class (10/22)

Here is the most recently revised syllabus. I forgot to remind you all in class that your first critical essay is due next Wednesday (10.29).

Have a great rest of your week!

October 13, 2008

Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever, 1963 to 1991

Hi everyone! Here's the link I mentioned a couple of weeks ago to someone's set on flickr.com on the changes in Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever from 1964 to 1991. If you click on the thumbnails on the right, you can see several page-to-page comparisons. The person who posted it even made a lot of notes you can mouse-over within the pictures, annotating the specific changes.


Some changes shown on just the cover (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kokogiak/66087367/in/set-1425737/) include a dad inserted into the kitchen and a 'policeman' changed into a "female officer."


October 12, 2008

October 1st Class Discussion

Question posed: Some of the activities may make students physically uncomfortable. Are we oppressing the oppressor with these activities? (Friere 46-47)

For example:
-making students uncomfortable (touching) holding hands
-asking them to violate cultural boundaries
In doing this, do you turn it around and use the same oppression of the people that have oppressed you?
Although, there is a big difference from the oppressed becoming the oppressor and the oppressed becoming a part of the system of oppression.
-the classroom has always been an unsafe place for unwhite students
-the ways in which a traditional classroom forces students to feel unsafe, not part of it. Is this different than a activity that is meant to disrupt the classroom and (make is unsafe??)
On the other hand, it is beneficial to intentionally engage in this behavior in order to get students to think about it more critically?
-is that oppressing the oppressors? Or is it engaging critical thought?
-is the uncomfortability worth the learning experience?
Do we have to go this far to get this point across?
• One possible solution: we can give them control and offer them to opt out.
Can we even do exercises like this? It is allowed by the university?

Whose right is it to change the consciousness of someone else’s child? Whose values are being taught?
-Should school teach values? Who owns the knowledge?
• This is one particular way of thinking and learning.
• It's important to consider who gets to decide what is taught. Especially considering variation across cultures

Is it inevitable that values are part of curriculum?
-Remember that college students are active participants/subjects . They can reject and resisit what we tell them.

Bringing the bodies back into the classroom
• These exercises are a way of expressing themselves through their bodies
• Engaging bodies helps students get it
• Use your own judgment
• For example, putting chairs in a circle embodies the students
• using actual bodies or words to talk about them is uncomfortable for us (is that a cultural thing?)

-One way to prepare students is ask students before hand to get ready for some physical touch/interaction

Other things we talked about:
• Do African-Americans learn differently?

• Activity on pg 135 and 136: Male-identified and female-identified students walk “like the other�

Children’s literature: It can put students of privilege in situations that make them uncomfortable so that they can learn what life is like for others.
• unsettling is important
• discomfort is sometimes valuable

October 8, 2008

Revised Syllabus

Here is the revised syllabus.

Revised reading schedule for 10/15 and 10/22

Here is the revised reading schedule for the next two weeks.

1. For 10/15:
Boler. "A Pedagogy of Discomfort."
Fisher. Chapters 4 and 5 in No Angel in the Classroom
(optional: Moulton. "On hostile pedagogy")

2. For 10/22:
"Authority" in The Feminist Classroom"
hooks, bell. "A Revolution of Values."
Fisher. Chapter 3

October 2, 2008

No office hours today

I will not be around for my office hours today from 1-3. If you want to schedule an appointment, just send me an email. Thanks, Sara

October 1, 2008

Week 4: Ped Q: Time

This week's pedagogical question was raised by Rebeca M. --How might we begin to think critically about time as both an opportunity and a constraint? By this is meant both class time and the duration of the semester.

What is a valid way to spend time, given the goals and objectives of the course? Many people notice that discussions take up a lot of time, is that a valid way to accomplish course objectives and build knowledge?

Rebeca gave an example of having only 50 minutes to cover an immense amount of material with complicated subject matter. She had students divide up into small groups and condense the material of three theorists down to one crystallized sentence for each that everyone in the small group could agree to. This method forced the students to discuss the material, summarize the arguments, synthesize the material, and compare the theories, all within a short time.

Other people in our class offered suggestions for condensing difficult material and holding students accountable for it. One suggestion was to have a short quiz on the material for comprehension. Another suggestion was that as instructors we may have to at times accept that not every student will master all the material presented and they may come back to it at some point down the line and have another chance to digest what was difficult the first time around.

Culture as Disability

The artticle I mentioned last week on the social construction of disability is:

Culture "as" Disability
Ray McDermott; Hervé Varenne
Anthropology & Education Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 3. (Sep., 1995), pp. 324-348.

It is available electronically through the U of M library.

Are we oppressing the oppressor?

After looking at some of the curriculum designs in Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, I noticed that some of the activities may make students physically uncomfortable - not so much in the sense of facing their own contributions to injustice, but in the sense of violating their personal space. An example is the exercise that asks students to hold hands and move forward while responding to questions (p. 140 exercise 2). Is it necessary to create such cultural and physical dissonance in order to disrupt racism or are we oppressing the oppressor (Freire) with these exercises?

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