link: feminist pedagogy

               

                          FEMINIST PEDAGOGY AS LIBRATORY PEDAGOGY

theme: 'Feminist pedagogy' is a pedagogy of liberation which developed in opposition to the psychological oppression of women in the institutional setting of the patriarchal American society... 'libratory pedagogy'.

 "'Feminist pedagogy' has raised three issues which are useful to consider in a discussion of the enrichment or expansion of other liberatory pedagogies. The first concerns the need to challenge the authoritarian role of the teacher. In the feminist pedagogy, the teacher learns with students and holds authority by virtue of greater knowledge and experience. Pedagogy is constructed in such a way as to... The second concerns the need to validate the claim for knowledge and truth in personal experience and feeling. The third concerns the importance of rejecting the universal category of 'woman' and recognizing the differences among women and among all people. Application of the principles of 'feminist pedagogy' has evolved in conjunction with the growth of women's studies and 'the new scholarship on women' in colleges and universities. They have introduced liberating pedagogical theories and methods in the classroom. They have institutionalized feminist pedagogy in the form of programs and departments of women's studies. Adherents of the 'feminist movement' have challenged existing traditional canons and disciplines on the basis of what they perceive as gender discrimination." (Kathleen Weiler 'Freire and a Feminist Pedagogy of Difference' Harvard Educational Review vol. 61 no. 4 November l991)

Origins of feminist pedagogy  The term 'feminist pedagogy' is a difficult one to define. This is because adherents of the feminist pedagogy movement have challenged existing traditional disciplines and developed the so-called 'new scholarship on women'. They have institutionalized the new pedagogy in the form of programs and departments of women's studies in colleges and universities.

The key to an understanding of feminist pedagogy is the understanding of its origins in the consciousness-raising groups of the women's liberation movement of the late l960s and early l970s. In northeastern and western American cities, white women who had been active in the 'civil rights movement' applied their political activism to their own situation as women in a male-dominated society. They formed consciousness-raising groups out of the need to share their experiences in collective groups without leaders. They came together in unstructured local groups to discuss their shared experiences of work and family.

The collective sharing of experiences continues to be a fundamental tenet of the feminist pedagogy.

Focus was first on political change and then turned to private concerns  Arising spontaneously among small groups of women, these consciousness-raising groups focused on political change rather than individual therapy. They were interested in getting to the roots of social problems. With a profound mistrust for the accepted authority and 'truths' about women's 'inherent nature' and 'proper place,' they turned to their own experience and the life experiences of other women.  The early women's consciousness-raising groups were modelled on the civil rights movement in the South. They were formed with a view to raising awareness and understanding which would prompt them to organize and take action on a mass scale. They were committed to 'social transformation'

 As the movement expanded to include groups of women with little interest in collective change, they focused their energies on 'private concerns' and individual change. Those women who were politically committed based their activities on the assumption that education should be a means to social change. Stimulated by the new scholarship on women, they challenged traditional disciplines by promoting consciousness raising in the form of women's studies courses and programs in colleges and universities. .. The expression of feminist values and goals in the classroom became established as the non-traditional 'feminist pedagogy' in the institutional framework of the traditional university.

Three basic themes  In the course of its historical development, feminst pedagogy has challenged some basic premises of the traditional institution of higher education and revealed the shortcomings of the 'traditional paradigm'. 

 Feminist pedagogy is based on the assumptions of a 'universal experience' and 'abstract goals.'

 Feminist pedagogy is a pedagogy of liberation centered around three basic themes: first is the power of consciousness raising... second is the problem of oppression and the means to end it... third is the desire for social transformation.

 Issues for education: challenged authoritarian role of teacher The innovative 'feminist pedagogy' has raised important issues for education. Similar issues are considered in other liberatory pedagogies. The first concerns the need to challenge the authoritarian role of the teacher. In the 'traditional' view of the bureaucratized university system, the teacher is an authority who transmits knowledge. 'Authority' and 'authoritarianism' are confused. In the 'nontraditional' view of 'feminist pedagogy,' the teacher holds authority by virtue of greater knowledge and experience. The teacher is a guide who learns with students and constructs a pedagogy which encourages them to recognize their own powers of theoretical reasoning. The second issue concerns the need to validate the claim for knowledge and truth in personal experience and feeling. There is a need to validate the claim for knowledge and truth in personal experience and feeling.

challenged devaluation of women's perceptions  Women of the early consciousness raising groups were aware that their perceptions were devalued. They explored their own experiences and feelings as sources of 'true' knowledge. They claimed that people can come to an understanding of their own power to make social change if they first understand their own experiences and their feelings which are the source of the knowledge of one's humanness. The human capacity to feel is the basis of the vision of a humanized society.

     There is an alternative to being either oppressor or oppressed and that is to be human, respecting other human beings. People do not have to allow their lives to be shaped by the socalled 'truths' of the ideology which dominates society. They can look instead to their own personal experiences for an understanding of their condition and empower themselves to change it.    

 The third issue raised by the feminist pedagogy movement concerns the importance of recognizing the differences among women.    Feminist pedagogy emphasizes the importance of respect for the differences among all people. Like Freirean pedagogy, feminist pedagogy is based on principles of collective liberation and humanization as the basis for social justice. As a truly 'innovative' method and pedagogy of 'nontraditional' education, feminist pedagogy has the effect of liberating the learner from the authoritarian role of the teacher, the curriculum and the institution. It encourages the learner to have the freedom to develop self-discipline, engage in self-directed learning, and achieve spiritual maturity or 'self-actualisation'. As an innovative pedagogy of liberation in education, feminist pedagogy can lead to the person's full humanization and to the humanization of society. As this is the aim of education, then it can be considered as valuable pedagogy for the education of children.

'holistic education'

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 Freire, feminist pedagogy tie "Freire and a Feminist Pedagogy of Difference" by Kathleen Weiler Harvard Educational Review vol. 61 no. 4 November l991

An example of 'nontraditional education', feminist pedagogy is a 'liberatory pedagogy', a pedagogy of liberation centered around three basic themes: the power of consciousness raising, the existence of oppression and the means to end it, the desire for social transformation. Challenging some basic premises of the traditional institution of higher education, feminist pedagogy, in the course of its historical development, has revealed the shortcomings of a 'traditional' pedagogy based on the assumptions of a 'universal experience' and 'abstract goals.'The term 'feminist pedagogy' is difficult to define. The adherents of 'feminist pedagogy' has developed in conjunction with the growth of women's studies and 'the new scholarship on women' in colleges and universities. They have challenged existing traditional canons and disciplines and institutionalized feminist pedagogy in the form of programs and departments of women's studies. They have introduced liberating pedagogical theories and methods in the classroom. Key to understanding feminist pedagogy ...(File INNOVED1 p.3)..society. Based on the assumption of the commonality of women, the political process of feminist consciousness-raising involved the sharing of experiences in a collective group without leaders. They came together in unstructured and local groups(FGiule INNOVED3).. social problems. Profoundly mistrusting the accepted authority ..(File INNIESD).... individual change. Feminists with political commitment based their activities ...(File INNOVED3).. of feminist values and goals in the classroom became established as the nontraditional 'feminist pedagogy' in the traditional university.