Friday, 23 January 2015

Not quite #moocmooc

This week I am mostly vicariously participating in Hybrid Pedagogies #MOOCMOOC on Critical pedagogies ( by following the posts of some friends (Maha Bali, Simon Ensor and Keith Hamon). There has been much discussion on Freire and bell hooks – and just how tricky it can be to implement critical pedagogy in real life classrooms – they asked:
  • Is the primary effort of education bent toward the humanization of its participants (learners and educators alike)? If it is not, should it be? What does humanization look like as curricula, as syllabi, as lesson plan?
  • If it is not our task to “make deposits” into students’ minds, to reinforce learner passivity, but rather to spark inquiry, where is the best place to start?
  • How are we teaching, really, and how are we relating to the world, really? Do we walk the walk we want to walk, the walk we say we walk?
  • If, as Freire points out, the “teacher’s thinking is authenticated only by the authenticity of the students’ thinking” (58), what process might we follow to foster authentic thinking — in the classroom as much as in professional spaces?
Movements in space and time
Recently our University moved from 15-week to 30-week courses: in moving from modules to courses, some of us found that this small change in space and time arrangements allowed us the space and time to at least attempt to implement something that is at least informed by Freire and hooks and Illich (and Holt) and Dewey – but also by Carl Rogers… and for us in particular this meant that our module ‘Becoming an Educationalist: reading, writing and enquiry’ – could not just enter into dialogue with students about what an educationalist could be in the world – and how – and why… It also allowed us to shape something that fosters belonging and human connections between the students – it allows the space and time to foster creativity and fun and play – as well as criticality and dialogue… and we hope that the processes involved also allows the module to act as a tool or lens for participants to use to critique their previous educational experiences – in ways that critically inform their own future practice. We blog about the course each week:  - and we encourage the students to blog their learning to develop their own playful, powerful academic voices.
We are the ‘other’
Our University is a Widening Participation university – and attracts those students who do typically get called broken or lazy or ‘less able’ – but who are really just less inducted into the traditional academic forms, processes and procedures… The goal of a module like ‘Becoming’ on paper could be that we re-territorialise (D&G) these perhaps ‘un-inducted’ students – that we tame them – fix them – and get them all set up for their education deposits; what we hope is that the passion and the play of the module and their blogs and the spaces created - enables the students to narrate themselves as they become ‘academic’ on their own terms.
Share the love?
We would be happy to share our Module Handbook with others implementing Critical Pedagogy in their classrooms – and to have you share yours with us: for beautiful lessons emerge from such practical ideas of CP in action.  

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