Way back in May, before the intense heat and the unexpected canceling of kids’ camp sessions, I (too) optimistically promised to post a lot about my pedagogy this summer. Ha! Oh well, I still have the month of August. Once I work out some technical details, I hope to add a page here with lectures, syllabi, assignments, etc. For now, I want to start by articulating my feminist pedagogy of troublemaking. I am doing this partly because I want to have a clear and well thought-out teaching/troublemaking statement on this blog, and also in preparation for an article that I am submitting for consideration in a special issue on pedagogy.
Since I’m having some difficulty starting this process (I think I’ve spent so much time thinking/writing/teaching about troublemaking in the classroom that I’m overwhelmed by the prospect of articulating it in a succinct and concrete way), I thought I would use this blog entry to help me out. I frequently find that blog writing, which encourages me to just start writing (and ramblin’), frees me up to write a lot and helps me to formulate my thesis and framework for a more formal essay.
SOME KEY THEMES
- CURIOSITY (more than confrontation)
- MOTIVATED BY DESIRE TO ENGAGE NOT DESIRE TO KNOW
- PROCESS, NOT PRODUCT
- PUSHING AT LIMITS/CRISIS
- ASKING QUESTIONS
- TAKING RISKS
- CONCERNED WITH HOW WE ARE IMPLICATED IN THINGS WE LEARN
- UNLEARNING/BREAKING HABITS
- UNDISCIPLINED (sometimes unruly)
- FOCUS MORE ON PROBLEMS, LESS ON SOLUTIONS
- bell hooks (talking back, teaching as practice of freedom, engaged pedagogy, need for critical awareness/consciousness)
- Paulo Freire (problem-posing pedagogy, pedagogy of asking questions)
- Kevin Kumashiro (troubling education)
- Megan Boler (pedagogy of discomfort)
- Suzanne Luhman (quering/querying pedagogy)
- Judith Butler (of course)
I want my students to not only learn how to ask questions, but to develop the habit/virtue of asking questions. This development requires not just learning how best to ask questions, but also how best to feel (experience) “the force of the question and the challenge it offers.” To effectively feel the force of the question, one needs to learn more than how to make trouble, but how to stay in that space/moment that trouble creates. My approach to assignments, discussions, readings is frequently motivated by my interest in giving students tools for both creating and inhabiting troubling spaces. On a side note, thanks to my use of the word “force,” the theme from Star Wars is now going through my head.
So, why should students (and teachers) stay in troubling spaces? Freire argues that asking questions and being curious enables us to resist the banking model of education in which passive students receive knowledge transmitted by teachers. It also enables us to engage in praxis where we critically and collectively reflect on the connections between our words and actions.
STAYING IN TROUBLE: SOME CLASSROOM PRACTICES*
- few lectures…lots of online lectures as blog posts
- huge blog/twitter component
- ask lots of questions without giving answers
- devote time to reading about/reflecting on feminist/queer pedagogical practices of curiosity and unknowingness
- put together readings that don’t offer easy assessments and that offer messy (and sometimes conflicting) perspectives
- develop assignments that not only emphasize engaging with other students (and collectively producing new knowledge), but making visible and documenting that process on the blog (diablog) and (Queer This!)
- develop assignments that encouraged students to be curious (this is a feminist issue because…)
- frequently pick readings/topics that are new to me too…creates teacher discomfort
- pushing to make ideas/readings/class connected to everyday experiences (how? need to think about that more)
*a tentative list. I need to spend a lot more time thinking through this…