Day 3 (2021)

Aug 3, 2021

The classroom, with all of its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In that field of possibility we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress. This is education as the practice of freedom. (bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, p. 207)

“I am liberty to make use of my own superpowers. I am a learner of outrageous potential. There is no reason to believe that I cannot do what no one expects.” (Sherri Spelic, Care at the core: Conversational essays on identity, education and power, 2019, p. 78)
The tools we use to implement critical pedagogy and open pedagogy are ones that we can employ at any time in our classroom. We can start with baby steps or dismantle our entire classes. Our power therefore exists in our ability to believe in ourselves, our students, our community, etc. and our willingness to be transparent about our pedagogical process - not only with our students but also our peers and, most of all, ourselves.

In terms of social justice, we discussed how social justice impacts our lives Tuesday night in our Zoom synchronous session. So many awesome ideas were shared and Courtney will post the notes in Yellowdig. Thanks to all who came and participated in both chats Tuesday.

I wonder if now is the time to think about how intersectionality plays a critical role in the power dynamics we observe in the classroom and out of it. Patricia Hill Collins and Sirma Bilge, in their book Intersectionality 2nd ed. (2020), find the similarities between Freire’s emphasis on education as freedom from oppression (Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1970/2018) and intersectionality by stating that “critical education’s emphasis on dialogical pedagogy and intersectionality’s focus on relationality speak to a similar theme…that navigating differences is an important part of developing a critical consciousness both for individuals and for forms of knowledge” (Collins & Bilge, 2020, p. 197). Where does navigating differences play a part in our lives and our classrooms? And how do we navigate those differences with care for all involved but also with a social justice orientation.

Critical pedagogy, as originally conceived by Freire, was radical, activist, and sought to empower the masses to overthrow the elite few. I wonder how we might take the ideas of intersectionality, critical pedagogy, and social justice and interweave them into our class dynamics.

What do we know about our potential to enact critical pedagogy and social justice in our classrooms? We are learners of outrageous potential. We have no reason to expect that we cannot change the trajectory of our STEM-H instructional design or implementation using what we've learned this week and what we will learn as we continue on this journey together.

So let's take a moment to reflect on what it is that we've learned so far, and what it is we still want to do with this week. Our theme for today is reflection and revisiting.

OK - let's get down to the business for today then.

We don't necessarily have a Day 3 page of resources because this is a day of reflection. Some questions to ponder include:

What has struck you so far in your DPL journey? What have you learned that was new or insightful? What are you still missing?

We have a Zoom meeting at 11am EDT (UTC-4) today, which is right before the keynote Q & A session starting at 12pm EDT (UTC-4). We also have a synchronous chat on Yellowdig from 7pm EDT (UTC-4) to 8pm ish EDT (UTC-4). Please feel free to use Yellowdig as a place to process your reflections about your learnings in community or you can write your reflections privately.

Clarissa Sorensen-Unruh

Learning/Teaching Enthusiast | #Chem & #Stats prof @CNMOnline | New MS Stats @UNM | #STEMEd researcher | @ChemEdX 2YC Lead | @DigPedLab Faculty | @VConnecting Buddy | #LGTBQi 🏳️‍🌈| She/Her | 😈

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