Co-intentional Education: a #digped Discussion

This Friday, February 1 from 1:00 – 2:00pm Eastern (10:00 – 11:00am Pacific), Hybrid Pedagogy will host a Twitter discussion under the hashtag #digped to discuss student involvement in teaching, learning, and pedagogy. If you’re an educator, please invite your students to participate.

The conversation curated and archived via Storify.

The Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age was published on January 22, 2013. The document, a collaboration between twelve educators, proposes on its surface 9 rights and 10 principles that affect students and their work in any learning environment, with an eye toward those which are hybrid or online. The document has generated a great deal of discussion about its context, but little about its implication: namely, students are so integral to the process of education that how we conceive the institution and the practice must evolve. As educators, our work is not to better understand and defend our own positions, but to abdicate those positions in meaningful, thoughtful ways.

We need to gather more students to contribute to this conversation (or ones like it). We need to stop having conversations about the future of education at tables where students aren’t present, and we need to use every stage we’re given — as teachers or as students — to advocate for the learners that don’t feel they have a voice. Ceding authority is an active endeavor. In other words, we can’t just step out of the conversation, we have to make certain that we are clearing way for open participation as we do.

From Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed:

A revolutionary leadership must accordingly practice co-intentional education. Teachers and students (leadership and people), co-intent on reality, are both Subjects, not only in the task of unveiling that reality, and thereby coming to know it critically, but in the task of re-creating that knowledge.

As Pete Rorabaugh and Jesse Stommel argue in Hybridity, pt. 3: What Does Hybrid Pedagogy Do?, teachers can’t talk about learning adequately (or fully) without students in the room and without recognizing the ways that we are all students. Dichotomies of leaders and learners, teachers and students, are only helpful when they facilitate rather than frustrate dialogue, and when we acknowledge that these roles are permeable, transparent, and flexible. Pedagogy starts with learning as its center, not students or teachers. It is a conversation we have from whatever place we occupy in the collaboration (and ideally that place is always shifting).

There is a sudden need to have a lot more collaborators in the room. How we gather those collaborators, and how we set the table, will be the focus of our discussion this Friday. Here are some questions to consider in advance of the discussion:

  • How can teachers, traditionally placed at the head of the table in discussions of learning and pedagogy, abdicate their authority and clear the way for students to enter the discussion? How much of that authority is necessary to get the conversation started and/or to help frame that conversation?
  • Are the terms “student”, “teacher”, “learner”, “scholar” fixed terms, or are they flexible? Can we be more than one at a time? Is it important — possibly vital — for students to view themselves as teachers, and for teachers to view themselves as students?
  • How do educators invite students into discussions about the future of education? Do we need to consider the ways we’ve kept students out before we can bring them in?
  • How do students reframe their roles at institutions of education or as learners to become fuller participants?

Add thoughts and questions below in advance of the conversation and join us on February 1 at 1:00pm EST (10:00am PST). For those unable to attend this week, Hybrid Pedagogy’s #digped occurs on the first Friday of every month. Our next #digped conversation will occur on Friday, March 1, 2013, same time, same place. If you have suggestions for future topics, feel free to add them to the comments below or tweet to @hybridped.

[Photo by theilr]

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