Communication 5930
Communication and Critical Pedagogy

Summer 2003

Prof. Gil Rodman
Office Hours: by appointment
CIS 3040 // 974-3025 //

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.
required readings
All titles are available at Inkwood Books, 216 S. Armenia, Tampa (253-2638, 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.

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.
weekly schedule

Our regular schedule for our weekly meetings will look like this:

12:00-2:00 seminar discussion on the assigned readings
2:00-2:30 break
2:30-4:15 teaching workshop

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:

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.
grading policy

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:

Attendance/participation 20%
Discussion questions 20%
Statement of teaching philosophy 30%
Sample syllabus 30%

Final course grades will not use the plus/minus grading system.
16 May
no reading

23 May

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”

30 May
Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
McKeachie, Teaching Tips, chs. 1-4

6 June
hooks, Teaching to Transgress
McKeachie, Teaching Tips, ch. 5-7

13 June
Giroux et al., Counternarratives
McKeachie, Teaching Tips, ch. 8-10

20 June
Shorris, Riches for the Poor
McKeachie, Teaching Tips, ch. 11-16

27 June
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

4 July
Independence Day -- NO CLASS
post Statement of Teaching Philosophy

11 July

Statements of Teaching Philosophy
McKeachie, Teaching Tips, ch. 21-25
post Sample Syllabus

18 July

Sample Syllabi
McKeachie, Teaching Tips, ch. 26-27