2.06.2005

collective, democratic spaces

perhaps it's because i've been reading a friend's article draft about counterhegemonic pedagogies in a middle school that i have been thinking a lot about pedagogy and space lately... i find myself in an interesting struggle at times between wanting to see where the conversation takes us, and the recognition that threads must be pulled together in coherent ways. on whom, however, does/should the dilemma/challenge/responsibility of making an activity meaningful fall? it is probably a better question to ask: how can all participants in a group contribute to the collective learning experience(s) within, for example, the context of a class?

in a related sense, i am still left wondering about our conversation from thursday evening. important ideas like agency, power, society, and resistance were brought up as we considered literacy in the context of adolescents. among the questions we asked had to do with the dissonances that exist (and that are often played out) between "old" literacies and "new" literacies - though to say that is perhaps distilling a complex conversation to few loaded terms. i will leave it at that for now, only to say that the resulting discursive meandering brought up the very significant and difficult-to-address questions of "who decides?" "who is included?" "what is and who has/enacts/uses agency?" i am left wondering, however, whether we raised any new questions? that is, is the function of graduate level seminars in the study of literacies to make sense of what has already been said, written, and debated? (and/) or is our purpose to consider still new ways in to the multilayered, always significant, ever-contentious literacy debates?

so now we arrive at another dimension of the aforementioned dilemma: what is the kind of pedagogy/ies that is inclusive and co-constructed (feminist? multicultural?), consciousness-raising and action-oriented (critical? antiracist?), and attends to the needs for lectures, discussions, hands-on experiences, and inquiry? i am forever in awe of and owe a tremendous debt to teachers who engage in these musings in both thought and practice on a daily basis, especially the many whose friendship continues to inform my practice. it is written on my schedule that i "teach" once a week, but how are those boundaries drawn? similarly, where are the boundaries between teacher and student in a context where we are learning from and with each other? beyond that, aren't we always teaching and learning with and from each other - beyond the classroom walls, outside of scripted curriculum and requirements...???

there, i've done it again - followed a digression straight to more boundary-less questions...! so, an attempt at thread-pulling (with a hope that i don't unravel the sweater in the process): it is my hope that we are becoming a community of learners together and that in doing so we are going to challenge one another to think deeply, express ourselves clearly and with conviction and support each other's burgeoning thoughts. i will strive to enact a pedagogy that is responsive to the diverse needs and interests of the fabulous group of people who are in this class, and ask for similar participation from the group.

now some words from june:

I ain’t goin nowhere unless you come with me
I say I ain’t goin nowhere lessen you come with me
I ain’t about to be some leaf that lose its tree
So take my hand see how I’m reachin out for you
We got a whole lot more than only one us can do
—June Jordan

1 comment:

Sarah said...

hey, have you seen this article by Guy Merchant, Imagine All that Stuff Really Happening (click to vol 1 no 3)? Is totally relevant to the spaces/places stuff that we've been talking about, and he frames it in terms of agency and subverting "normalized" school-based literacies. it's in michele and colin's E-Learning.