until a few minutes ago i hadn't really articulated what the purpose of this blog was. sure, i noted that this blog was a risk i was taking, but i never really described why. so, in the midst of IMing my sister just now it came to me: this is part of my inquiry about making pedagogy transparent.

now, i am forced to wonder whether there are any readers of this blog and whether any of them happen to be enrolled in students in C&T 6501.001... b/c one could ask: "to/for whom am i interested in making pedagogy transparent?"

i suppose this inquiry is informed, in part, by my earlier readings into democratic and feminist pedagogies - moved by texts, stories, and experiences of others who strive, on and ongoing basis, to truly co-construct(pardon the hackneyed term) a teaching/learning space. in the courses that i've taught in the past, i've been aware of the gaps between the thinking and observing going on in my head and the "stuff" that was happening in the classroom. that is to say that i have been working on enacting a "with" pedagogy and attempting to do so as explicitly as possible. that's not without the aforementioned risks - mainly, admitting that i'm not really sure how something is going to turn out; and, more recently, recognizing that there may be times when boundary-less assignments truly are frustrating. a responsive pedagogy must attend to the need for structures as well as flexibility. that is my challenge.

on a related note, this past thursday the class shared their field observations. the assignment:
Students will conduct two field observations to be shared over the course of the class. These are intended to be opportunities to situate inquiry questions in the context of adolescents. Students will identify locations in their daily travels in which adolescents are engaged in meaning making, are hanging out, and are employing various literacy practices for a variety of purposes (e.g. the park, subway, local diner, school hallway, afterschool club, etc.). After a few informal observations, students will take descriptive notes on what the youth are doing, paying close attention to their meaning making in a particular context. Field observations can be constructed and represented as audio, visual, or written texts; students will pick two of the three when doing their observations. For example, if the first observation is in the form of written fieldnotes, students should choose to represent the second observation as an audio or visual text. Students should also include a brief discussion section to each observation in which they should make connections to the course texts. Examples of possible formats will be discussed in class prior to the first observation.

in class, in the weeks leading up to the due date, there was some considerable anxiety and confusion around what exactly i was expecting. and, to be honest, i wasn't sure...! i really was interested to learn about the different spaces for literate engagement that the students would explore, as well as the ways in which they would experiment with the representations of these observations. they didn't let me down. there were several online explorations: blogs, blogrings, icons, poetry, discussion boards; some meatspace reflections: in a local starbucks, at home during a LOTF re-enactment; and a few in-school observations: a school-wide literacy discussion, in-class play... and throughout our conversation, the question of representation continued to pulsate.
  • what does it mean to represent literacies in the lives of adolescents?
  • how can we show analysis multimodally?
  • what do we need to know in order to make sense of and represent adolescents' hybrid meaning making?

we're on spring break this week and i'm hoping that we all return rejuvenated, inspired, and full of possibilities as approach the next half of the semester. in the meantime i will continue my personal inquiry of (critical?) transparent pedagogy both in and out of the lovely seminar room in which we convene these discussions and explorations.

here is a site that continues to help me sort through questions & issues related to representation (of ethnography, in particular):
Visualising Ethnography

and a lovely piece from the always-inspiring doug kellner:
Critical Perspectives on Visual Imagery in Media and Cyberculture

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