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Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
What Bad Teaching At College Sounds Like 
13th-Dec-2006 10:13 am
The point is that they are shameless in it.

I come to teaching with all of my being. My devotion to you is complete. For me, teaching is about something you are, something you embody. Thus I have no techniques, no strategies, no skills, no drills, no exercises that tend to work in conveying various ideas and concepts. Instead, my focus is on how I enter the classroom as a human being.

It always seems to end this way:

I reject the divide between theory and pedagogy, and that between pedagogy and politics. To help perpetuate these false divides only serves to undermine our understanding of theory, pedagogy, and politics. For instance, many increasingly contend that I should provide you “with knowledge and commitments to be socially responsible citizens.” Moreover, I should help you “realize the values and skills of our democratic society.” These are no doubt noble pursuits. On the other hand, others contend that such ambitions have no place in my classroom. These “political tasks . . . belong properly to other institutions.” But I have problems with both sides of this issue. For instance, how were the tasks divided up? Who had such authority? How was such authority acquired? How did some tasks become only my tasks? Also, how did some tasks become political and others theoretical and pedagogical? On the other hand, when did the teaching of theory become separate from other practices that cultivate socially responsible citizens? Maybe we should reframe the issue: What about our theoretical and pedagogical practices that is failing to produce socially responsible citizens?

"I get to brainwash you because no one can tell me to stop."
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