A recent Chronicle article discusses age and teaching through the lens of a magazine article called “Confessions of a formerly hot woman.” The author does a really nice job of pointing out how problematic associations between bodies and knowledge nevertheless manifest in very real ways in the classroom. A single pedagogy may not work forever; pedagogy must shift along with teacher embodiment.
“… in recent years, as I have moved into middle age, the concept of the “formerly hot woman” has returned to me in a different manifestation, one related to my professional identity as a professor of English. . . . students are beginning to react differently to my pedagogical and advising strategies . . .”
I find this fascinating, and a little troubling. Moreover, I’m a bit appalled at the lack of research in this area. (Maybe I’m using the wrong search terms.) Aside from this Chronicle piece, my initial searches have turned up only one relevant article on how pedagogy might change as teachers age. Everything else is focused on the age of learners, or turns up sources about the information/digital/internet “age.” The one piece I did find–an article from the journal Feminist Teacher–introduces some fairly insulting stereotypes about female teachers of reproductive age. I refuse to believe that the only way we can value the teaching of older women is by denigrating that of their younger counterparts, and thus I’m left with very little in the way of resources to think about how pedagogy changes with age. Perhaps this is an important direction for future research on teaching and embodiment.
This site is fantastic for thinking about syllabus design–definitely re-visiting it when it’s time to plan fall classes! The whole thing demonstrates the importance of this statement: “Accessibility cannot be an afterthought and it cannot be assumed.” https://accessiblesyllabus.tulane.edu/
If only I’d known about this resource before designing the Public Interest Writing course I’m just finishing! A colleague recently posted this link to a listserv. The site is an “online platform for a number of interlinked research projects that critically examine the use and impact of selected social networking tools in Australian society and beyond.” Clearly, we could use something so smart here, as well. View the project here: http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
I’m still reviewing my notes from the Chandra Mohanty talk mentioned in my last post, and I came across her list of ideas for enacting pedagogies of dissent. As rendered through the lens of my perception (including my deciphering of my own handwriting):
- Connect the academy to transnational movements and corporate/industrial interests
- Make power hierarchies transparent and connect to questions of social justice (Holy crap! It’s my dissertation!)
- Engage in institutional ethnographies and form watchdog groups within the university
- Make universities actively accountable to the public good
- Make security interests clear in the curriculum
I also remember Mohanty talking about her disgust with the ways that radical theories and pedagogies have become objects of consumption. I agree with her, but at the same time I’m glad that wider audiences are willing to entertain radical ideas. Or maybe the problems it that audiences’ consumption (read as “using up of”) of such ideas means they’re NOT actually thinking. Not sure. I’m still thinking about it. Really!
Just searching for some new tech ideas for the Spring, and thought this was a pretty good one …
Image from TeachHub.com
A re-post from the Chronicle … I wish someone had told me this when I was an undergrad. On the other hand, I probably wouldn’t have listened:
“You are not your grades. I want my students to avoid defining themselves in terms of a grade. I want them to know that grades represent nothing more than someone’s assessment of one or more instances of their academic performance. Given the nature of the grading process and the limited purposes for which it is designed, the grades they receive are in no way a reflection of who they are as people or even what they are capable of achieving in the long run.”
Read the whole article: Grading and Its Discontents