I would like to think that I incorporate elements of both Dewey's Cycle and Freire's Critical Pedagogy in my methodology and pedagogical practice. I certainly try. I view myself as a teacher-learner, placed in the classroom to share my knowledge and experiences, but also to learn from my students, and gain something (an approach? a fact? a new perspective? a practice?) of value. I tell my students this, and it is not just lip-service- I genuinely feel that I learn from, and with, them.
And I try to encourage them to view their jobs, their families, their morning commutes- just about every relationship and situation they can be in- as possessing the potential for both teaching and learning. My students are future managers, lawyers and accountants. They are parents. They are citizens of the world. And they have huge responsibilities to themselves and others. So when they walk into an Intro to Business course, and expect to be drilled with vocabulary, quizzed on facts and figures, and lectured for hours on end, I try to remind them of the social, psychological, environmental, political (the list goes on and on….) implications of their actions or inactions in the business world. I do this by asking them to ask, investigating alongside them, giving them as many opportunities as I can to create something and to reflect…I have even kept Dewey's cycle on a post-it in front of me while creating assignments to inspire me to provide them with all of these opportunities. In a perfect world, each essay, case-study, and class discussion would be crafted or led in such a way that all students would feel actively involved in their learning, feel a sense of ownership in this process, feel empowered….
…but life gets in the way. Time constraints, teaching and non-teaching professional obligations and elements of my personal life all take away from my ability to create such opportunities each and every time. So, for now, I just try my very best to be conscientious of the things I do and say in class (and out), to revisit and revise assignments with my students whenever possible, to gauge student learning through a mixture of assessment approaches, and to continue to view myself as a student and not just an educator (and the CTL seminars are great ways to place me back in this mindset whenever I stray from it).