- What is the goal of education, and how can digital technologies best help learners achieve those goals?
- How can our institutions/contexts help students develop their agency?
- How might education become a site of activism?
Our conversations this week have run the gamut from specific to broad, immediate to historical, worried to optimistic. We’ve discussed the theoretical, the practical, and everything in-between. We’ve asked how critical pedagogy applies in-person, online, and in a handful of hybrid/hyflex models in-between. And we’ve offered ideas, swapped anecdotes, and shared observations about things we’ve read, done, or experienced. Though we’ve explored a wide variety of topics and situations, with plenty of food for thought and inspirational suggestions, I’m fairly certain our time together this week concludes with more questions than answers.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As you doubtless know by now, I firmly believe that teachers should serve not as an absolute source of knowledge but instead as a resource for students, helping them as they work to build and shape their own understanding of things they wish to learn. If you end this week with a set of complex questions about your teaching praxis, this course has done its job. If you leave this week with plans to enact critical digital pedagogy in a class of your own, I’d say this course has been wildly successful.
So far this week, we’ve looked at the principles of critical digital pedagogy and the importance of praxis in its application. We’ve challenged the role of teachers, the needs of students, and even the effectiveness of assessments. Going back to our first days, think again about the purposes of education and the quotes we curated from bell hooks. How do those ideals operate in digital spaces? How can the principles of CDP be applied to online or hybrid models?
When deploying critical digital pedagogy in our specific contexts, we have to balance the expectations of our institutions, the human needs of students, and the implications of our digital tools. Such triangulation obviously requires thoughtful consideration.
Teaching as Activism
As Freire reminds us, teaching cannot be ideologically neutral. As such, the act of teaching is a form of radical activism. Used correctly, our teaching can advocate for students and lead to liberatory practices for the students, the institution, and the community. Indeed, the final project of #CritPrax 2018 was a website designed to teach visitors how to teach toward activism.
How might you use your teaching as a tool to move students toward self-advocacy and social justice? What opportunities and affordances do you have access to that could lead to meaningful change?
Teaching as Care
Above all else, teaching is an act of radical care—for both students and teachers alike. By using education as “the practice of freedom” as bell hooks suggests, we can give students opportunities to experience, and literally practice, the freedom of thought and self-awareness too often omitted from traditional education.
Teaching as Political
Today’s readings hold little back in their assertions of political necessity. Watters and Zeller each blatantly advocate for the social good that can come from using education to establish political discourse. Licastro writes about ways political situations can both lead to and stifle service-learning projects among marginalized populations. How will your teaching praxis reflect your political needs?
The last thing to consider for today is a brief meta-reflection on your learning over the week. Based on where your work has taken you, what do you intend to start, stop, or continue doing in your teaching praxis? Should any of those plans be reflected in your teaching portfolio?
What can you do as a teacher to make yourself and your mentors proud?