Communication and Critical Pedagogy
Prof. Gil Rodman
Office Hours: by appointment
CIS 3040 // 974-3025 // firstname.lastname@example.org
course description and objectives
Teaching is arguably a university’s single most important function. At the very least, classroom instruction is probably the most common daily activity on any given campus. And yet, for all the actual teaching that takes place at institutions such as this one, the actual philosophy and practice of pedagogy is a surprisingly infrequent subject of attention.
In its own self-admittedly limited way, this course attempts to offer a small corrective to that unfortunate oversight. In particular, we will devote our time and energies to examining:
While much of our reading and discussion will address the questions above in the disciplinary context of Communication, most (if not all) of the basic principles involved still have obvious applicability to a broad range of other fields in the humanities and social sciences.
- the philosophy, ethics, and politics of higher education, with an emphasis on how such issues play themselves out in actual classroom settings,
- the relationship between higher education and active citizenship in a democratic society,
- and the nuts and bolts of putting the abstract principles of critical pedagogy into practice in “real life” teaching situations.
All titles are available at Inkwood Books, 216 S. Armenia, Tampa (253-2638, email@example.com). Please note that other editions of both the Freire and McKeachie volumes exist -- and so if you choose not to buy your books from Inkwood, please make sure that you’ve acquired the same editions of these texts that we’ll actually be using this summer.
- Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (revised 30th anniversary edition)
- Henry Giroux et al., Counternarratives
- bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress
- Wilbert J. McKeachie, McKeachie’s Teaching Tips (11th edition)
- Earl Shorris, Riches for the Poor
Our required reading list also includes several photocopied articles, which will be made available to you (free of charge) in class in advance of their “read by” date on the syllabus.
Our regular schedule for our weekly meetings will look like this:
||seminar discussion on the assigned readings
Our scheduled break is intentionally long enough to allow us all to find and eat lunch, use the restroom, stretch our legs, etc. in the middle of what is admittedly a long class session. Please don’t try to stretch those thirty minutes into forty or fifty.
We have a relatively small enrollment this summer. This is a Good Thing, insofar as it guarantees that no one will get lost in the crowd . . . but those small numbers also increase your personal responsibility to the group. In a class of 20, after all, one or two people can fail to show up (or can show up unprepared) and the group is large enough to cover such gaps without much effort. In a class as small as ours, however, no one is “expendable” -- and even one missing (or unprepared) person will have a dramatic impact on the quality of our discussions/workshops. So please show up every week, do so on time, and be prepared to discuss the assigned readings intelligently and participate fully in our workshop sessions.
Blackboard Discussion Board
The Discussion Board will serve several important functions for us this summer:
- It’s an informal space that’s available 24/7 for extended group discussion of the issues raised by the assigned readings and our class sessions.
- It’s where you’ll submit all the assigned work for the course (and, since most of that work will become required reading for the rest of the class, it’s also where you’ll find much of our non-book readings).
- It may occasionally be used between our weekly meetings to make important course-related announcements (e.g., “please add the collected works of bell hooks and Henry Giroux to next week’s reading”) or to pass word on about other topics that may be of interest to the class (e.g., calls for papers, upcoming conferences, recently published articles and books, etc.). So check the site frequently.
1. Discussion questions. Three (3) of these are due by 12 noon each Thursday (i.e., the day before class) from 23 May through 27 June. Your questions should arise from the assigned reading for each of those weeks. In particular, you should conceive of your questions as prompts that will help to stimulate thoughtful discussion of the readings (and related issues), rather than as blunt tools to test people’s memory for factual information.
2. Statement of teaching philosophy. This statement should run ~1000-1500 words and be suitable for inclusion in a teaching portfolio. Due by 12 noon on 4 July.
3. Sample syllabus. You will invent/choose an upper division undergraduate course that you would like (or are already scheduled) to teach -- and then write up a sample syllabus for that course. I’m more concerned here with the front end of your syllabus than the back end, though (perhaps obviously) in some cases you may need to do substantial work framing the content of the course in order to make the “rules and regulations” portion of your syllabus workable. For purposes of this assignment, you should assume a 15-16 week semester and an enrollment of 30-45. Due by 12 noon on 11 July.
Additional details about these assignments will be made available later in the semester.
Those of you who’ve had classes with me before know that I’m not a big fan of grades at the graduate level. Presumably, you’re here because you have a genuine desire to learn something about critical pedagogy . . . and I would rather have you devote your energies to engaging fully with the issues and arguments at hand than to sweating over the question of whether you’ll be able to turn an 87 into a 90. As far as I’m concerned, then, if you show up for class consistently, participate in our discussions (both in class and online) on a regular basis, and complete the required assignments in satisfactory and timely fashion, you should get an A. That being said, in cases where people are clearly slacking off, I reserve the right to go deeper into the alphabet when I fill out my final grade sheet (and I’ve actually done so in the past). Under such unfortunate circumstances, your grade will be calculated as follows:
|Statement of teaching philosophy
Final course grades will not use the plus/minus grading system.
Henry Giroux & Roger I. Simon, “Critical Pedagogy and the Politics of Popular Culture”
Henry Giroux, “Doing Cultural Studies: Youth and the Challenge of Pedagogy”
Lawrence Grossberg, “Teaching the Popular”
Carol Stabile, “Another Brick in the Wall: (Re)contextualizing the Crisis”
Lisa Henderson, “Communication Pedagogy and Political Practice”
Elizabeth Bell & Kim Golombisky, “‘A Show of Hands, Please’: Managing Three Student Identities in the Feminist Classroom”
Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
McKeachie, Teaching Tips, chs. 1-4
hooks, Teaching to Transgress
McKeachie, Teaching Tips, ch. 5-7
Giroux et al., Counternarratives
McKeachie, Teaching Tips, ch. 8-10
Shorris, Riches for the Poor
McKeachie, Teaching Tips, ch. 11-16
Elizabeth Ellsworth, “Why Doesn't This Feel Empowering?: Working Through the Repressive Myths of Critical Pedagogy”
Mark Edmundson, “On the Uses of a Liberal Education: As Lite Entertainment for Bored College Students”
Gregory Jay & Gerald Graff, “A Critique of Critical Pedagogy”
Gerald Graff, “Teach the Conflicts”
David Trend, “The Fine Art of Teaching”
McKeachie, Teaching Tips, ch. 17-20
Independence Day -- NO CLASS
post Statement of Teaching Philosophy
Statements of Teaching Philosophy
McKeachie, Teaching Tips, ch. 21-25
post Sample Syllabus
McKeachie, Teaching Tips, ch. 26-27