Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Teaching, Ideology, and Community
It's wonderful to read Daryl's and Maria's honest and insightful accounts of their pedagogy. Both of them acknowledge how difficult it can be to navigate the introvert-extrovert divide in the classroom. Maria write, "if I ask the “louder” ones to give room to the quieter ones, I’m putting the quieter ones in a difficult position. I’m basically saying: “Now’s your chance to jump in and “ape” being an extrovert!" Similarly, Daryl asks: "What are the opportunity costs of trying to be adaptive, sensitive, and accommodating in the classroom when dealing with student coping mechanisms?" These questions resonate deeply with me. I suspect most of us have spent our teaching careers navigating educational settings that are strongly biased towards extroversion. Every educator's classroom practices are deeply influenced (though not totally determined) by the ideologies of the wider culture; how could it be otherwise? In the end, it seems that Daryl, Maria, and I are all struggling to envision and enact alternative ways of teaching which honor the gifts and contributions of all our students. Of course, it's extremely difficult for any single person to push back against assumptions and practices that are so deeply ingrained as to seem completely natural, normal, inevitable. Working within a supportive community of inquiry and practice is an indispensable part of this effort. Our Community 2.0 group is such a resource. We're not going to change the world (or even LaGuardia), but we can ask questions, reflect, and experiment together. That's a pretty good start.