This is my current teaching philosophy (January 29, 2021). One of the goals of the Faculty Learning Community I’m leading this semester on critical digital pedagogy is for all of us to rethink and rewrite our documents.
U.S. Latina and Chicana feminist practice inform my classroom and research pedagogy, one of decolonialism and community building. Based on Gloria Anzaldúa’s conceptualization of mestiza consciousness, this transformative pedagogy proposes ways in which my students and I can enact a practice that tries to undo dualistic thinking, bringing their knowledge and experiences together with the course materials. In examining literature, films, and popular texts through close reading, I encourage my students to question notions of objectivity and to understand that we can and should hold a multitude of positions simultaneously, using this multiple positioning to inform our reading, writing, and thinking. This critical pedagogy practice of constant re- centering privileges students who have had nontraditional opportunities and experiences, encouraging them to create and support community both outside and within the classroom. In constructing courses, my classes reflect this critical pedagogy, focusing on radical kindness and fostering connections between students, enacting my belief in bell hook’s expansion theories of the classroom as a teaching community, creating a space of hope, care, and commitment. It’s also increasingly focused on my students and I collaboratively creating digital spaces where we can express enthusiasm and take pleasure in our community’s intellectual discoveries.
In the past two years I’ve experimented with using technology to bring students together so they can listen to and learn from each other. I also use it to personalize assignments. To do this, I’ve moved away from using rubrics. Instead, I offer successful examples from past courses, or make them myself, and have students write two to four- page proposals for projects, share them, and then meet with me individually or in small groups. We discuss what their goals for their work are, deciding together how a successful outcome will look. To better scaffold writing assignments, rather than using TurnItIn for submissions, my students share Google, Docs with me so they can revise based on my feedback. This way, my comments are not justifying their grade but are given so they can improve their writing and resubmit it. I’ve also been striving for a pedagogy centered on generosity, kindness, and passion. It is central to my teaching that students take pleasure in the course material and their time together. In this, I’m inspired by Dr. Tomás Rivera’s advice that we should only enter our classrooms with love: love of our discipline and love for our students.
Image Credit: d-q