Tag Archives: pedagogy

Reflecting on the Journey: Final Project Ideas and Beyond

Hey all! 

As we stand near the semester’s conclusion, it’s both a reflective and anticipatory moment. The journey we’ve collectively undertaken in our graduate course has been of intellectual exploration and growth. As we approach the final group project, I am excited by the diverse and imaginative ideas many of you have suggested for the group project. 

In these final weeks, the spotlight falls on our final group projects, innovative endeavors that encapsulate not just the knowledge we’ve acquired but the spirit of collaboration and creativity that defines our cohort.

Although I missed class last week, I looked over the workshop brainstorming notes from the previous class. I was excited to see that we all have a connection with the most exciting ideas, the learning outcomes, and how we can make this group project count in a meaningful way that matters most to each of us individually. I recognized the profound connections with the themes we’ve explored in class: Identity, Multiculturalism and multilingualism, AI, Voice, Healing, Trauma and writing, and Pedagogy of the oppressed. These thematic intersections provide a wide-array framework for our project, ensuring that it aligns not only with our collective interests but also a pathway for creating something that resonates on a personal and profound level. 

As I consider how we can make this project impactful, I find myself driven by a desire to venture into the creative realm. I envision crafting a project that transcends the typical academic endeavor, a work that involves both academic exploration and personal, creative growth. This project represents an opportunity to generate content worthy of inclusion on my CV, portfolio, or website, serving as a testament to my academic proficiency and ability to engage with thought-provoking themes in a creative manner.

I enjoyed reading through everyone’s final project suggestions. I thought Michael’s idea of creating a curriculum was creative and innovative. It presents an opportunity for us to apply the readings to theoretical concepts we studied throughout the semester in a practical and impactful way. Crafting a curriculum becomes a channel for our understanding of writing pedagogy, theory, and creative expression into a dynamic learning experience. 

I also enjoyed Fran’s suggestion of writing a fictional story inspired by a real-life struggle that we have encountered, then giving our story to a classmate who will read it, digest the emotional appeal, and then write a poem that reflects the emotions they had felt while reading it. 

The idea of swapping papers and having a classmate respond with a reflective poem introduces an outsider’s perspective. This element of the project encourages a mutual exchange of empathy and understanding. As writers, we often get absorbed in our narratives, and having someone else articulate the emotions they felt while reading our stories can offer new perspectives and illuminate aspects of our struggles that we might not have recognized.

The incorporation of poetry as a response adds a layer of artistic expression. Poetry has a unique ability to distill complex emotions into concise and powerful language. The poems generated through this project will serve not only as reflections of our classmates’ emotional responses but also as creative pieces in their own right, offering a different medium through which to explore and communicate the shared human experience.

This project aligns with the goals of our writing and theory course by integrating theoretical concepts into a practical, creative context. This idea is a meaningful and holistic exploration of personal narratives and creative expression. It has the potential to deepen the understanding of ourselves, and the powerful connection between writing, theory, and the human experience.

I’m open to exploring any additional final project ideas that may arise, and I’m excited about working on this group project with all of you!

Voices in Education: Multicultural Pedagogy & Tutoring ESL Students

As our class delves into the topic of writing and multicultural/multilingualism this week, we are guiding through the profound insights found in Chapter 3, Embracing Change in Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom by Bell Hooks and Tutoring ESL Students: Issues & Options by Muriel Harris and Tony Silva. These readings offer unique perspectives on education, urging us to reconsider traditional approaches and embrace the changes in the education system over the years. 

In Chapter 3, Embracing Change in Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, Hooks challenges the lack of practical discussions on teaching in culturally diverse classrooms. This observation resonates with the education system, highlighting the need for a more inclusive and diverse pedagogical approach. The emphasis on multiculturalism as recognition, acceptance, and preservation of diverse cultures underscores the importance of moving beyond a singular perspective. Hooks urges educators to courageously embrace the reality that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to teaching, encouraging a shift towards valuing multiple perspectives.

I agree with Bell Hooks statement when she mentions:

The idea of Hooks’s pedagogy is the importance of voice. Hooks is critical of Paulo Freire’s traditional “banking concept of education,” in which students are passive and silent learners. She argues that all students should have a voice in the classroom to share their own experiences, ideas, and beliefs. Equally important to Hooks is that students learn to listen to one another. When students hear and understand voices besides their own, it allows them to recognize and acknowledge that the classroom is a community.

Looking back at my undergraduate years, I remember how I was required to take a multicultural education course myself. Not that I didn’t know this before, but it was in this class that I understood and became aware of the importance of including every student’s perspectives, cultural backgrounds, and individual experiences. This course served as a pivotal moment of enlightenment, revealing the significance of fostering an inclusive and diverse learning environment. It not only broadened my understanding of diverse cultures but also emphasized the need for educators to go beyond the differences of every student.

I enjoyed reading Bell Hooks perspective on Chapter 3, Embracing Change in Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom as she challenges educators to reassess their pedagogical approaches, advocating for a transformative education that values diversity, embraces multiple perspectives, and fosters a sense of community and shared goals. Her insights prompt us to reflect on how we can contribute to creating more inclusive and empowering learning environments.

Moving onto our next assigned article for this week, Tutoring ESL Students: Issues & Options by Muriel Harris and Tony Silva, the authors delve into the complexities faced by tutors working with ESL students. The central theme revolves around the challenges in determining whether a student’s difficulties lie in language proficiency or writing skills. The authors emphasize on the intricate negotiation process between tutors and students when establishing the tutoring agenda. Harris and Silva make an impactful statement when they mention the possible issues ESL Students and tutors can come across:

A critical question by Harris and Silva revolves around the tutor’s ability to determine whether a student requires assistance primarily with language proficiency or the writing process. Tutors face the challenge of navigating this intricate relationship to identify the specific causes of a student’s writing difficulties. This can be a pivotal point for tutors, urging them to cultivate a solid understanding of language nuances and be discerning when language challenges might mask the student’s genuine writing capabilities. Harris and Silva stress the tutor’s multifaceted role, emphasizing the importance of a nuanced assessment that connects language proficiency and writing skills. The authors highlight the dynamic nature of this assessment, urging tutors to adapt their approaches to cater to each student’s unique needs.

The article Tutoring ESL Students: Issues & Options by Muriel Harris and Tony Silva serves as a valuable resource for tutors, offering insights into the complexities of working with ESL students. They provide guidance on navigating the delicate balance between language proficiency and writing skills, emphasizing the importance of tailored tutoring approaches that address the unique needs of each student in this diverse and dynamic educational world.

When the master becomes a student, and the student a master.

This week’s reading indulges in Bell Hook’s Teaching to Transgress, where she begins her essay discussing the oppression and political aspect of the education system during her time in school. She mentioned the Black teachers whom she encountered that supported and nurtured black students. These teachers taught their students to become scholars and broad thinkers, basically to withstand the oppression that will unfortunately occur in their educational career. Thus, creating the love of learning for Hook. Up until Hook entered a predominantly white school where politics came into play with her education and she no longer felt seen nor comfortable in a classroom. 

For me, learning and knowledge are crucial parts of my life. It is truly saddening to read about a time that certain students aka Black students, did not have the opportunity to receive the same education as everyone else. I absolutely love learning, and being heard. I’m shy, but I have a lot of personal experiences to talk about that can eventually lead to a new form of knowledge. Bell Hook had her own form of knowledge to give, but no one wanted to listen to her. From being oppressed her entire life in school, Hook came upon the work of Pualo Freire and a Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. She was moved by Freire’s approach to the freedom of pedagogy and Thich Nhat Hanh’s union of mind, body, and spirit. 

I would like to talk about the concept of Thich Nhat Hanh’s union of mind, body, and spirit for a brief moment. My understanding of this is that students are always learning new concepts. They develop their own approach because of the support of their mentors aka teachers. But there are some teachers who are only there to teach on what they have been taught. Meaning, some teachers do not expand the process of knowledge. They just go by the book. The union of mind, body, and a spirit for a brief moment allows students to achieve self expression through their work. Teacher’s will give their students a brief explanation of their knowledge and have the students develop their own ideas and perspectives, ultimately the student becoming master. 

As hook mentioned, she would often go to school in hope of forgetting the judgment and anxiety from home. School was a safe space where she could be her authentic self. Many students, including myself, feel the same way when it comes to education. Despite what is going on in my private life, I will always have my intellectual ability and no one can take that away from me. Students are looking for an outlet, where they can feel intellectually safe, and somewhere everyone is getting the same amount of knowledge. They might not be here for therapy, but finding your own people with mentors who support you, can be therapy itself. 

I really do admire these essays that support the concept of going far beyond the bounds of knowledge. I often find myself learning so much from my students, in which I one day will write a book about. You see, I work with students on the Autism Spectrum and they see the world so much differently than all of us. I have approached things differently, I have appreciated smaller things in life, I have broadened my adoration for knowledge since I have been educating them. They have taught me more than my many years of schooling.

Breaking the Cycle: Paulo Freire’s Approach to Empowering Education

This week we focused on chapter two: the “banking” concept in education in Paulo Freire’s book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, based on lived experiences of oppression and how he translated such a reality into a pedagogy that would emancipate the oppressed into becoming more aware of themselves as persons within a particular historical context and be empowered to become agents of social change.

Pedagogy of the Oppressed presents a sharp critique of the conventional banking model/system of education, where teachers deposit knowledge and information into a students mind and later withdraw it during exams. In this model, students are not given a chance to participate in the learning process, nor are they provided with opportunities to express their ideas about the subject matter or relevant issues. Freire’s book challenges these teaching approaches where educators assume they possess all the knowledge while students are presumed to know nothing, resulting in being taught and disciplined accordingly.

After reflecting on Chapter 2 of this book, all I could feel was frustration and fear. I felt frustrated due to the recognition that traditional education systems, represented by the “banking model,” perpetuate historical inaccuracies and myths. For example, in particular, the glorification of Christopher Columbus as a hero, despite his involvement in violence and the enslavement of indigenous people can be deeply unsettling. This frustration stems from a sense of disillusionment and anger at the realization that I was taught these inaccuracies, which might have shaped my understanding of the world.

I also fear that younger generations be subjected to misleading narratives and inaccuracies. My fear reflects a broader worry about the consequences of a flawed educational system that perpetuates harmful stereotypes and glosses over crucial historical truths. Misconceptions like Christopher Columbus could continue to shape the worldview of future generations, potentially perpetuating injustice and bias.

Pedagogy of the Oppressed is relevant and timely towards establishing new paradigms in education and the educational system that would seek to incorporate creative, liberating, and life-affirming approaches to learning processes. This means incorporating various academic curricula relevant to historical issues that affect the lives of the people as well as the socioeconomic and political systems and structures where these issues operate. Teachers should be more caring with the information they teach their students and encourage dialogical education, a two-way exchange of ideas between teachers and students, enabling learners to question, challenge, and co-create knowledge. As well as teachers should not view students as passive learners. Instead, they should be treated as active participants in the whole learning process with a rich deposit of knowledge and perspectives in terms of their lived experiences.

Teacher’s vs. Robots?

Well, let’s do this thing. Hello my fellow peers, this week we embark on the journey of Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, chapter 2 to be exact. Before we get into the chapter, can we just discuss how Freire said “The banking concept of education, which serves the interests of oppression, is also necrophilic.” (77). I read that paragraph multiple times, trying to figure out if that word was supposed to be there? I’m sure it is, and I know what he was trying to say…it was just so random. 

Anyways, Freire explains the complex relationship between some teachers and students. Teachers are often just teaching their own knowledge and comprehension of certain topics, not realizing none of this might pertain to the needs of the students. Teacher’s are not taking into consideration their students’ own capability of knowledge, and just hoping they will memorize this new information. Hence bringing up a very interesting tactic that Freire mentioned called “Banking”. Banking is exactly how it sounds,  a teacher will deposit “Knowledge”, despite it not relating to the students needs, and then the teacher will just expect the student to keep that knowledge forever. Freire analyzes that students will somewhat understand that knowledge, but they will lose that creativity of trying to learn it themselves. Essentially from my understanding, making them as robots in a sense. The students have no say in what they learn, and are expected to fully comprehend everything their teacher wants them to learn. Freier brings up a good point that students will not be able to think critically, especially in the outside world. Their only source of knowledge is coming from their teachers, if that makes sense. The students will lack the ability to make creative and critical connections. 

Freier moves on to making a list of practices the oppressors use for the oppressed (students). The specific point stood out to me, and it was “ The teacher is the Subject of the learning process, while the pupils are mere objects” (73). Case and point. The pupils are just objects that are supposed to understand whatever is being taught during the learning process. Overall, reading those first few pages of Chapter 2 made me rethink my entire childhood years and my life as an educator. I started feeling mournful for my younger self and also my peers during that difficult time. I always wondered why I did not understand most things that were being taught to me, and why none of my teachers ever noticed me falling behind. I grew up as a first generation Bangladeshi, to two immigrant parents who did not grow up under the U.S. education system. So, when I went home, I had to figure out all of my homework and studies on my own. I was being taught things that would not benefit my comprehension skills, and I could barely ask anyone at home for help. 

From my understanding of all of this is that some teacher’s or even the administration at this point are being cruel. The education system is a sensitive place, with many kinds of learners. Basing a curriculum from one’s own knowledge rather than catering to your students’ critical needs is merely selfishness. Rather than using the banking model, teachers need to start caring more about their students and less about the so-called knowledge they think they’re giving. Student’s are far more than just a deposit. If we’re talking about the realm of banking, when you deposit money, you also eventually will take out that money for some sort of use right? So, if teacher’s are going to use the banking method, then they can also “take out” knowledge from their students. Am I right? Take out knowledge actually seems a little harsh, but you know what I mean.

Thanks for reading!

“Rhetoric & Composition” by Janice Lauer

Honestly, just from the title I thought this was going to be a difficult read. But my assumptions were wrong. Overall, it was a very insightful chapter. I enjoyed jumping through time periods where rhetoric and composition were evolving and being comprehended. I appreciated what Janice Lauer mentioned on Page 3 of Chapter 2 ,“ In most cases, if students decide to major or even to do graduate work in English, they assume they will be studying literature. What these students often do not realize is that “English” also encompasses the discipline of rhetoric and composition”. Whenever I tell anyone that I am studying English, they always assume I am going to be a High School teacher who just reads books to students everyday. English is such a broad subject, where people emerge and become scholars, authors, and enlighten other curious scholars. It is beyond belief considering we’re in the 21st century where people have PHDs in this subject. Janice Lauer touched on the emergence of writing, the composing process, teaching of writing, different styles of writing, and even disagreements when it comes to the topic of rhetoric and composition. Many inventions such as journaling encouraged students to explore connections within themselves to make their writing more originative and authentic. 

As an Asian American student, born in Bangladesh, I had the opportunity to be raised in the United States at such a young age I was not put into ESL classes. However, many of my peers lost out on opportunities because of the diversity aspect of their education. Lauer had cited that scholars have made it more accessible for ESL students to be taught rhetoric and composition based on their culture. I highly support this approach, as it involves the students’ culture, hence comfortability in understanding writing language and composition. Since we’re on this topic of students, I was scrolling through TikTok this weekend, and I am on the side of Teacher Tok. Multiple educators have been bringing awareness to the fact many students are struggling to read basic words. A 7th grade teacher mentioned that his student could not spell “Window”. He was appalled at the lack of students knowing how to formulate sentences at a 7th grade level. This brings me to the topic of Foundationalism. I read that collaboration and making students evaluate their peers’ work makes their knowledge of rhetoric and composition stronger. Perhaps teachers can start making groups for students who are struggling to read and compose so they know that they are not alone in this struggle. Maybe they can even jump off of each others ideas when coming up with stronger sentences. 

I can fully agree that textbooks do not help students whatsoever. Majority of the time in High School, I barely understood what the reading was trying to say. I would read the pages assigned and wait for the teacher to explain everything because I had little to no idea what was being discussed. This issue continues today because there are still a set of rules on how a person is supposed to read, and how it is supposed to be comprehended. I read very fast, and I pretend as if I am reading a script because it helps me understand better. Whereas someone else may read very fast, and monotoned but understand the text a lot more differently than I did. Teachers and sometimes even scholars need to understand that rhetoric and composition is still being studied today. More theories are being brought to light, new research is emerging and students are eager to learn about these new discoveries. As a writer, this insightful reading has just proved to me that English is not just teaching Gatsby to a bunch of 11th graders. So much dedication goes to understanding this broad subject. Traditions are changing, diversity helps comprehend everything so much better, and simply understanding that everyone has a different way of taking in information and formulating it.