No one warns educators about the net on your heart

So I found myself articulating something to an old student of mine about the feeling of entering the job of an educator, which I’ve never tried to describe before.  But as I wrote it, I thought, “Geez, we should warn our students about this more often.”  I’ve taught a lot of people who went into K-12 as well as postsecondary education, and I never told them about the affective experience of knowing that you have students, that they’ll be there waiting for you to show up and be good.  I’m sure the experience admits of tons of variety, but here is mine, and to make up for all the times I failed to mention this, I’m just going to re-post it here for future caring types:

So I’ve only taught adults, but I find it quintilli-cated my sense of massive responsibilities to other people. No one warns you about this aspect of education: You are aware that you have the well-being of others in your hands every day and you can fail in any number of ways, every day.  You met me in just my second year, when I felt this very, well, very much. It’s like a net on your heart.  It’s not bad, not always anyway, but there it is. It’s webby.

The thing is, you get accustommed to it.  After a while, you even kind of see it as a part of you.  You miss it when it goes slack. But there it is, there’s a net on your heart.

Sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, my students.

 

Resisting matriliny in Meghalaya

When I teach courses cross-listed in Women and Gender Studies, I get the unusual pleasure of students recommending reading to me that I wouldn’t otherwise do in philosophy.  So my thanks to Drew for sending me the link to this story about men agitating for change in a matrilineal society. As with patriliny, the babies who will carry the family name are received with a special enthusiasm, and are assumed to have more trustworthiness, granted more leadership.  It is a fascinating anthropological point.

Forced Sterilisation

for transgender people in Sweden. Go here to sign a petition against it. (Thanks, L!)

If you are a transgender person in Sweden today looking to legally change your gender, in the 21st century you are still forced to undergo surgery that will render you permanently infertile and forever unable to have children.

CFP Feminist Pedagogy in Higher Education

Feminist Pedagogy in Higher Education: Critical Theory and Practice

Tracy Penny Light, Jane Nicholas, and Renee Bondy (eds.)

This edited collection will provide educators with a theory-to-practice approach to implementing feminist pedagogy in higher education classrooms.   Each chapter will discuss the use of feminist pedagogical practices in different disciplinary contexts, paying particular attention to the multiple ways that feminist theory is employed in the classroom, in curricular development and/or in community service learning.  The authors interrogate the notion of feminism and its relevance for teaching today’s learners.  Questions about the design of learning activities to engage students with this approach will be addressed as well as ways to evaluate learning within the context of the current structure and focus of universities, including the notion of engaging today’s learners in a meaningful way.  The chapters will present a dialogue around this approach while providing concrete steps for readers to implement in their own classrooms.  Authors will address how inclusive feminist pedagogy can challenge issues of racism, heterosexism, classism, ageism, and colonialism in the university classroom to make the space more accessible to all learners.  In total, this collection will assess the past, present and future of feminist pedagogy in the university and will be of interest to teachers and administrators from all disciplines.

 

Call for Proposals

Feminist pedagogy places issues of social inequality and difference at the centre of the curriculum to engage learners in the process of constructing knowledge through inclusive teaching methods.  These approaches seek to empower learners to struggle with course material in order to challenge traditional assumptions, to ask critical questions about the world around them, and to make connections between their learning experiences particularly with a view to making change in the world.  As such, these approaches to teaching and learning typically critique received wisdom, reform the relationship between teacher and student, and respect and value the diversity of the personal experiences of all students while relating the learning in academic classrooms to the “real” world.

 

We invite submissions for papers that explore the role of feminist theory within current pedagogical practices across the disciplines.  This edited collection aims to provide educators with a theory-to-practice approach to implementing feminist pedagogy in higher education classrooms.  Papers that discuss the use of feminist pedagogical practices in different disciplinary contexts, paying particular attention to the ways that feminist theory is employed in the classroom, in curricular development and/or in community service learning are particularly sought.  Authors should interrogate the notion of feminism and its relevance for teaching today’s learners and address questions about the design of learning activities to engage students with this approach as well as ways to evaluate learning within the context of the current structure and focus of universities. Papers that present a dialogue around this approach while providing concrete steps for readers to implement this approach in their own classrooms are of particular interest.  Examples of topics that might be addressed in papers include but are not limited to:

  • Interrogating the notion of feminism and its applicability in today’s classrooms;
  • Teaching from a social justice, activism and transformative political perspective;
  • Innovative approaches to bridging the divide between “traditional” pedagogical approaches and feminist approaches;
  • Potential challenges/strategies for success in employing a feminist pedagogical approach;
  • Exploration of the ways in which a syllabus might be organized for traditionally “non-feminist” topics according to feminist principles;
  • Incorporating feminist perspectives into teaching of subjects that students may consider to be “non-gendered”;
  • Feminist pedagogy and post-colonial interventions in women’s/gender/race/class studies, transnational feminist activism and politics;
  • The role of feminist pedagogy in engaging youth to be responsible citizens.

 

Interested authors should send a 250-300 word proposal to the editors by April 3, 2012 and accepted proposals will be identified by May 1, 2012.  Drafts of papers (6000-8000 words) will be due August 15 and a book workshop will be held in the fall of 2012 (if funding is available).  Revised manuscripts will be due November 15, 2012.  The book is under contract with Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

For more information or to submit a proposal, please contact Tracy Penny Light tplight@uwaterloo.ca