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And yet, feminist pedagogy resists definition. There are multiple forms that feminist pedagogy can take because there isn’t one distinct and precise way of defining feminist pedagogy . it can be difficult to pin down because it has so many branches and parts and offshoots. This is reflected in the sense of uncertainty about itself and what it entails that some of the literature on feminist pedagogy displays. Many of the article titles ask questions: “What is feminist pedagogy?” (Fisher, 1981; Shrewsbury, 1987), “Does the use of journals as a form of assessment put into practice principles of feminist pedagogy?” (Clifford, 2002), “Imagination, hope, and the positive face of feminism: Pro/feminist pedagogy in ‘post’ feminist times?”(Lambert & Parker, 2006), and, in one case, the article tries to pin it down very precisely: “Theory or practice: What exactly is feminist pedagogy?” (Brown, 1992), noting that feminist pedagogy “is still defining itself, largely through a process of questioning long-standing beliefs and practices in education” (p. 52). And as Crawley, Lewis, and Mayberry (2008) observe: “As feminist scholars, we are routinely asked to support the legitimacy of our work by explicitly answering the question: What makes it feminist?” (p. 2). While these many questions seem to indicate a sense of ambiguity about what feminist pedagogy is and what it is concerned with, the recurrent themes explored in the literature from the early 1980s to the present are suggestive more of certainty than of uncertainty. Frequent topics in the literature include the envisioning the classroom as a collaborative, democratic, transformative site; consciousness raising about sexism and oppression; and the value of personal testimony and lived experience as valid ways of knowing. Ultimately, there are multiple themes in the literature because feminist pedagogy takes on so many forms and is impossible to encapsulate neatly and definitively.
Is characterized by the absence / Relies on student input – Alana: Pair/Share – students swap topic statements or research questions, identify what they understand as the key concepts in their partner’s statements, and brainstorm synonyms. Then discuss with each other, ask clarifying questions, suggest ways of broadening or narrowing.
Is attentive to language / Takes care to explain – Emily: Demonstration: Ask students to find materials related to the opposite, unmarked category, e.g., Men in Engineering. What does it mean that research about sexism always follows the marked rather than unmarked category?Uses egalitarian classroom practices / Makes use of learning activities – Alana: Database demonstration – students explore different databases in small groups, using a worksheet to guide their exploration, then come up to the front of the class & show others how to use their database. I can provide input if there’s something I think we all need to know.
Focuses on interaction / Keeps the classroom interesting – Alana: Class-wide topic workshop activity, in which students write out their topic statement or research question at the top of a blank sheet of paper, then circulate around the room, making notes on other students’ papers about search terms, possible resources, things they’d like to know about the topic, ways to narrow or broaden. Follow up with group discussion of results.
Feminist Pedagogy ACRL 2013
Imagining the Future of Library Instruction: How Feminist Pedagogy Can Transform the Way You Teach and How Students Learn Maria T. Accardi, Indiana University SoutheastEmily Drabinski, Long Island University-Brooklyn Alana Kumbier, Wellesley College
Agenda• Think/Pair/Share: What is feminist pedagogy?• Overview of feminist pedagogy theory• Contexts• Think/Pair/Share: Feminist strategies in the classroom• Questions/Answers/Discussion
Think/Pair/Share• Think about what you think feminist pedagogy is.• Turn to your neighbor and discuss.• Share with the group.
Defining Feminist Pedagogy“a perspective on teaching which is anti-sexist, and anti-hierarchical, and whichstresses women’s experience, both thesuffering our oppression has caused and thestrengths we have developed to resist it”(Fisher, 1981, p. 20).
Recurring Themes• Raising consciousness about gender injustice, sexism, and social change• Privileging student voice• Fostering Collaboration/ Cooperation/ Democracy/ Community• Transforming teacher-student relations/authority/empowerment• Ethics of care
What feminist pedagogy looks likeThe feminist teacher The feminist instruction librarianMakes use of the seminar discussion- Promotes active participation whenbased format, which fosters active discussing possible research topics,participation and values student voices database searching strategies, or other(Broidy, 2007; Chow et al., 2003). information literacy learning activities.Is characterized by the absence of Relies on student input for databaselecturing and assertion of authority. demonstration, keyword brainstorming,Instead, the teacher asks for student input and search query formation.(Carillo, 2007).Emphasizes on hands-on or interactive Employs hands-on learning activities thatlearning, field trips, service or community require students to engage with librarylearning (Chow et al., 2003). research tools.
What feminist pedagogy looks likeThe feminist teacher The feminist instruction librarianFacilitates cooperation, class Makes use of group work or partner workparticipation, group work; builds for information searching or evaluation.community; involves students in decision Develops learning activities that solicitmaking; elicits personal responses to and validate students’ experientialmaterial (Duncan & Stasio, 2001). knowledge.Employs consciousness-raising (Fisher, Raises awareness of sexism and other1981). forms of oppression through library research content and examples (e.g. using “women in engineering” for a search topic in a career research class.)
What feminist pedagogy looks likeThe feminist teacher The feminist instruction librarianIs attentive to language as a way of Takes care to explain how keywordsconstructing reality and knowledge; and/or subject terms often fail to takeacknowledges central role of language in into account or adequately describeteaching, learning, and theory formation marginalized people or topics.(Giroux, 1989). Demonstrates how to rephrase search language in order to retrieve satisfactory results.Uses egalitarian classroom practices, Makes use of learning activities thatencourages student development of validate learners’ talents and strengthspersonal strengths, and fosters social and invite students to share orrelations that challenge patriarchy demonstrate skills for class. Fosters an(Giroux, 1989). anti-hierarchical classroom environment where student input is sought, utilized, and valued.
What feminist pedagogy looks likeThe feminist teacher The feminist instruction librarianFosters an environment in which all Collaboratively develops goals andindividuals work together to achieve goals learning outcomes for library session withcollectively (Hayes, 1989). students. Invites suggestions from students on how to achieve goals.Encourages students to define key terms Seeks student input on keywordfor class discussion (Maher, 1985) brainstorming. Encourages students to help set the agenda for learning activities and goals for the session.Supports students in achieving mastery Develops learning activities that allowon their own or in collaborative group students to improve and hone libraryexercises (Parry, 1996). research skills individually or with partners/groups.
What feminist pedagogy looks likeThe feminist teacher The feminist instruction librarianMakes use of reflective personal journals Employs learning activities or assessment(Parry, 1996). instruments that promote student reflection on learning and research process and facilitate metacognition.Employs networked computerized Uses computer classroom in a way thatclassrooms, which can shift power empowers individual learners andrelationships and promote active learning promotes hands-on kinesthetic learning.(Parry, 1996).Focuses on interaction, such as Keeps the classroom interesting and livelyimpromptu speaking, group exercises, ice- by encouraging students to speak, work inbreakers, keeping people meeting new groups, and move around the classroom.people, changing physical environment(Torrens & Riley, 2004).
What feminist pedagogy looks likeThe feminist teacher The feminist instruction librarianMakes use of think/pair/share, team work Develops learning activities that requireand team reports, and group problem- students to work individually, then sharesolving (Webb et al., 2004) with a partner, and then share with the group. Provides problem-based research scenarios for students to solve together.
Think/Pair/Share• Think about how your responses to the first question have changed, if at all.• Turn to your neighbor to discuss.• Share with group.
Bibliography• See http://mariataccardi.com for a full bibliography