Pedagogy as Praxis

Guiding Questions

  1. How do we build with CDP in mind?
  2. How does CDP inform praxis? Where are the trouble spots?
  3. Brainstorm an open course: What principles guide its design?
  4. What tools help create, deliver, promote, and maintain open courses?

Pedagogy guides our approach to teaching and informs our decision-making, but until it is brought to action—performed as praxis—it remains merely aspirational. Enacting pedagogy combines intention with embodiment, applying our philosophies to the actual people we are working with. And as we discussed on Monday, teaching is all about the people we work with.

The irony is not lost on me that the one day of #CritPrax dedicated to putting pedagogy into action happened to be a day I got so sick that I couldn’t hold any food down or stay out of bed for more than a couple hours at a stretch. It’s tough to perform the acts of teaching while sick. I had to drastically reduce my expectations of what I could provide and manage throughout the day and trust that the human(e) framework from Monday would allow some grace on Tuesday. Thanks to everyone for bearing with me.

Chat Recaps

In our morning Jam Session, the conversation revolved around the balance (or the distinction) between teaching people and teaching content. Georgia asked why it seems many teachers have recently discovered—mostly through the crisis of the global pandemic—that teaching requires human compassion. She wondered why this would be new. As a group, we spent time talking about the push to teach (or “cover”) content versus teaching the students in the room. And we noted that ed-tech can often serve as a distraction, making it feel as though we are teaching to the screen, or teaching in the LMS, rather than teaching the students enrolled in our class. Yi Wei shared an article she recently published examining this very issue.

Our afternoon Jam Session turned toward assessment (the focus of Thursday’s activities) and scaffolding. We discussed ways to de-emphasize grades and the need to make expectations (for assignments, for assessments, you name it) clear up-front. And we acknowledged the challenge of helping students learn to ask deep, meaningful questions that go beyond what can be answered through a simple web search or Wikipedia article. We didn’t solve any of education’s great challenges (darn!), but we did reaffirm some values and re-orient our thinking about praxis.

Tuesday’s Collaborative Activity

One activity on our Tuesday checklist never happened because I didn’t get the workspace set up in time. The plan was to create a Declaration of Ethical Principles for Online Courses. That shared document provides space for brainstorming our ideas of what principles should guide the work of course design—whatever form a “course” takes. In order to support critical digital pedagogy, and to center our work on student development, what principles should guide our work? How can our praxis be ethically informed?