The Visions

A List of Demands from Feminist and Queer Pedagogical Thinkers

  • Pedagogy is not the answer of how best to transmit knowledge to passive students, but the questions of what teaching and knowledge do to us, how we come to know and how we produce knowledge through our interactions with each other. (Luhmann)
  • Teaching does not involve Teachers depositing facts into the brains of passive students. (Freire)
    Feminist teachers are not all-knowing Educators who bestow critical voices on voiceless students. (Ellsworth)
  • Experience discomfort by identifying harmful habits, recognizing what you don’t want to know and confronting the questions that haunt you. (Boler)
  • Learn to disrupt, not to repeat. (Kumashiro)
  • Learn how to make trouble and stay in it. (Butler)
  • Never stop experimenting and being curious. (Freire)
  • Experience Feel the force of your questions. (Freire)

My pithy pedagogical goals

I prioritize feeling over knowing, engagement over mastery, discomfort over certainty and respect for all students as having the right to an education over everything else.

My not-so-pithy pedagogical goals

After reading and teaching feminist and queer pedagogies, my pedagogical goals changed from “empowering students to claim their education” (the stated goal in my earliest statement of teaching philosophy) to creating and facilitating spaces that invited them to join me in engaging—feeling, learning, unlearning, connecting, listening and troubling—and that made room for recognizing and valuing the ways that many of them were already trying to claim their education.

The spaces that I worked to create and facilitate were a hybrid of the online and offline. Through my participation on various online spaces and the research on blogs and twitter that I had been doing for several years, I saw their potential for sparking curiosity, facilitating deep engagement with ideas and each other and encouraging teachers and students to challenge and transform and transgress their old ways of being in a class—how we wrote, thought, read, created and maintained community. And, how we understood and embodied/practiced our roles as students and Teacher.

On the Ethical and Intellectual Contract Between Students and Teacher

In “Claiming an Education,” Adrienne Rich describes this contract as “a pledge of mutual seriousness about students and about language, idea, method and values.” This contract is not simply one in which students work to take themselves and their education seriously and teachers work to help them to do so. Pedagogies need to be transformed. So do teaching practices and methods. Values. Teachers must do work, taking their own education as a learner and a teacher seriously and transforming how they understand what it means to be an educator and to claim an education.

On Student Resistance

Sometimes students resist, are unwilling or unable to learn, are silent or disruptive or uncooperative not because they are lazy or spoiled or not smart, but because they feel defeated or stuck or angry or exhausted or overwhelmed or too disciplined or troubled or fed up. How can/should educators respond to and/or honor (value) these forms of resistance and refusal?

What’s the Point of a Professor Besides Being an Arrogant Expert?

  • To support and stand with students
  • To engage and produce knowledge with students
  • To listen to students’ experiences, concerns, and ideas
  • To make room and hold space for students’ demands
  • To take students’ seriously

On Planting a Seed

The kind of troublemaking work we (the students and I) did was difficult and required ongoing practice beyond our time together for a semester. My goal was hopefully to plant a seed—of doubt, of a desire to engage, question, be curious and stay troubled— for students’ future work inside, outside, or beside the academy

On Feeling the Force

[editorial note: To be written.]

On Engagement

[editorial note: To be written.]

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