While I didn’t get any writing onto this blog for moocmooc week 1, I’m happy to share some reflections on week 2’s readings here.
bell hooks – engaged pedagogy
The discussion of liberatory education is not new to me. I have been studying Friere, liberal arts, open education, cMOOCs and other contributing thoughts for some time. I was also fortunate enough to complete my undergrad at Augustana, a small, liberal arts university that is teaching-centered and dotted with educators who are grounded in critical pedagogy and experiential education.
Having started my degree at a conventional university, I understand what we’re pushing against, but for much of my educational experience, I have felt the wave on my side. Why, then, have I felt so reluctant to swim out into the great ocean of academia as a teacher rather than a student? I suppose this is the difference between riding the wave and being the wave.
I’m not sure where this metaphor has emerged from, but it feels good, so let’s run with it.
At the risk of providing too much background information and making this post longer than anyone would care to read, I’ll tell you where I’m at. I’m a masters student in the MAIS program and am currently working on my final project in which I would like to host a cMOOC on a critical examination of the digital world. Over the last 5 years I have been digging deep into the digital world, searching for the meaning and affect of this revolutionary space on my own and our collective Being. As I approach my final project, I would like to share those questions (and some of my own reflections) on this space in an open dialogical space, but I must admit, I am afraid.
I am afraid of merely providing content. I am afraid of dictating my own reflections without being able to join others in the emergent qualities of the conversation. I am afraid that all this meaning that I have encountered is irrelevant and that no one will want to engage. I am afraid to fail.
As I read bell hooks, I began to have hope again that this engagement may be more about my own self-actualization as a teacher than it is about the content of the course. This is a moment I have waited for. It’s taken years and a humility as a student that I had to actively cultivate.
I think this is where the practice of hooks and Freire comes in. The teacher in the teacher-student must recognize her place as the ocean. She has spent years deepening the knowledge well – reading, writing, watching, discussing, contemplating, swearing (#F%&#(F paradigm shifts!). She is sought after by student-teachers seeking to understand the currents of thought connected to one another throughout history. The ocean takes joy in the swimmer, the surfer, the scuba diver who is brave enough to enter the water.
While the metaphor is entirely new to me…. and would take time to develop, it helps me to consider the balance of power and ability. The ocean has the power to make waves and the surfer has the power to stand upon them. The teacher-student helps explore the deep currents and the student-teacher joins in navigating them.
On an entirely different note, I question how this happens in a second language classroom. I have been asked to work in this field, though I have had my doubts as to my ability to foster an emergent classroom where so much is truly by-rote. I suppose I’ll leave with that question, and bring it to the #moocmooc twitter conversation tomorrow.
If you’ve made it to the end of my ramble, ramble on, friend.