Sample Assignment on tweet/blog

As usual, I am experimenting with new assignments for class. This fall, I want to try some twitter/blog combo assignments that are designed to help students with their writing (my class is writing intensive). Since I like to try out assignments before using them and I like to provide students with examples, I thought I’d test out my “feminist example twitter/blog assignment” as I worked on my essay about my troublemaking pedagogy. First, here’s a description of the assignment:

1 Reading example posted on twitter/blog     25 points

You are required to tweet one example from the readings that supports/clarifies your definition/understanding of feminism. You are also required to expand on this example in a blog post.

Here’s the passage that I am using as an example; it’s from Kevin Kumashiro’s Troubling Education:

Critical pedagogy needs to move away from saying that students need this or my critical perspective since such an approach merely replaces one (socially hegemonic) framework for seeing the world with another (academically hegemonic) one. Rather than aim for understanding of some critical perspective, antioppressive pedagogy should aim for effect by having students engage with relevant aspects of critical theory and extend its terms of analysis to their own lives, but then critique it for what it overlooks or forecloses (49).

tweet: students must experience and engage w/perspectives, not just comprehend/understand/accept them; teachers are guides, not experts #femd2011 (138 characters)

blog expansion of tweet: In Troubling Education, Kumashiro argues that teachers need to develop pedagogies that encourage students to actively (and critically and creatively) engage with a variety of perspectives. This engagement necessarily requires that students do more than just comprehend or develop an understanding of any one perspective as the answer. Instead, they need to be guided by teachers on how to negotiate a wide range of perspectives and critically assess them in terms of their own lives.

In thinking about my own troublemaking pedagogy, I find this passage helpful because of Kumashiro’s emphasis on experience and engagement as opposed to comprehension. While understanding a term or concept is important, students (and teachers/scholars/readers) need to do more in order to not passively accept it as the truth; students need to think critically about the perspective, how it is/isn’t relevant and what it ignores or actively suppresses. In critically assessing a concept, students learn to challenge ideas and also that engagement with ideas requires active learning, thinking, and experiencing of a concept. This emphasis on engagement shifts the dynamic between teacher and student. In a typical class, the teacher stands in front of the class and lectures as the expert, providing passive students with the answers. The focus: the transmission of ideas from teacher to student. In contrast, in Kumashiro’s classroom, passive students aren’t given answers by an expert/Teacher. Instead, they actively engage with their teacher and other students, critically and creatively determining how the concept works and fails to work within their own lives.

Note: I like this exercise. It’s helpful to spend some time really focusing in on what’s important and then expanding on that focused articulation (the tweet) in a blog entry. Since I’m not completely satisfied with my blog explanation, I want to practice this assignment some more. 

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