Tag Archives: Pedagogy

Reflecting on the Journey: Final Project Ideas and Beyond

Hey all! 

As we stand near the semester’s conclusion, it’s both a reflective and anticipatory moment. The journey we’ve collectively undertaken in our graduate course has been of intellectual exploration and growth. As we approach the final group project, I am excited by the diverse and imaginative ideas many of you have suggested for the group project. 

In these final weeks, the spotlight falls on our final group projects, innovative endeavors that encapsulate not just the knowledge we’ve acquired but the spirit of collaboration and creativity that defines our cohort.

Although I missed class last week, I looked over the workshop brainstorming notes from the previous class. I was excited to see that we all have a connection with the most exciting ideas, the learning outcomes, and how we can make this group project count in a meaningful way that matters most to each of us individually. I recognized the profound connections with the themes we’ve explored in class: Identity, Multiculturalism and multilingualism, AI, Voice, Healing, Trauma and writing, and Pedagogy of the oppressed. These thematic intersections provide a wide-array framework for our project, ensuring that it aligns not only with our collective interests but also a pathway for creating something that resonates on a personal and profound level. 

As I consider how we can make this project impactful, I find myself driven by a desire to venture into the creative realm. I envision crafting a project that transcends the typical academic endeavor, a work that involves both academic exploration and personal, creative growth. This project represents an opportunity to generate content worthy of inclusion on my CV, portfolio, or website, serving as a testament to my academic proficiency and ability to engage with thought-provoking themes in a creative manner.

I enjoyed reading through everyone’s final project suggestions. I thought Michael’s idea of creating a curriculum was creative and innovative. It presents an opportunity for us to apply the readings to theoretical concepts we studied throughout the semester in a practical and impactful way. Crafting a curriculum becomes a channel for our understanding of writing pedagogy, theory, and creative expression into a dynamic learning experience. 

I also enjoyed Fran’s suggestion of writing a fictional story inspired by a real-life struggle that we have encountered, then giving our story to a classmate who will read it, digest the emotional appeal, and then write a poem that reflects the emotions they had felt while reading it. 

The idea of swapping papers and having a classmate respond with a reflective poem introduces an outsider’s perspective. This element of the project encourages a mutual exchange of empathy and understanding. As writers, we often get absorbed in our narratives, and having someone else articulate the emotions they felt while reading our stories can offer new perspectives and illuminate aspects of our struggles that we might not have recognized.

The incorporation of poetry as a response adds a layer of artistic expression. Poetry has a unique ability to distill complex emotions into concise and powerful language. The poems generated through this project will serve not only as reflections of our classmates’ emotional responses but also as creative pieces in their own right, offering a different medium through which to explore and communicate the shared human experience.

This project aligns with the goals of our writing and theory course by integrating theoretical concepts into a practical, creative context. This idea is a meaningful and holistic exploration of personal narratives and creative expression. It has the potential to deepen the understanding of ourselves, and the powerful connection between writing, theory, and the human experience.

I’m open to exploring any additional final project ideas that may arise, and I’m excited about working on this group project with all of you!

Voices in Education: Multicultural Pedagogy & Tutoring ESL Students

As our class delves into the topic of writing and multicultural/multilingualism this week, we are guiding through the profound insights found in Chapter 3, Embracing Change in Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom by Bell Hooks and Tutoring ESL Students: Issues & Options by Muriel Harris and Tony Silva. These readings offer unique perspectives on education, urging us to reconsider traditional approaches and embrace the changes in the education system over the years. 

In Chapter 3, Embracing Change in Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, Hooks challenges the lack of practical discussions on teaching in culturally diverse classrooms. This observation resonates with the education system, highlighting the need for a more inclusive and diverse pedagogical approach. The emphasis on multiculturalism as recognition, acceptance, and preservation of diverse cultures underscores the importance of moving beyond a singular perspective. Hooks urges educators to courageously embrace the reality that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to teaching, encouraging a shift towards valuing multiple perspectives.

I agree with Bell Hooks statement when she mentions:

The idea of Hooks’s pedagogy is the importance of voice. Hooks is critical of Paulo Freire’s traditional “banking concept of education,” in which students are passive and silent learners. She argues that all students should have a voice in the classroom to share their own experiences, ideas, and beliefs. Equally important to Hooks is that students learn to listen to one another. When students hear and understand voices besides their own, it allows them to recognize and acknowledge that the classroom is a community.

Looking back at my undergraduate years, I remember how I was required to take a multicultural education course myself. Not that I didn’t know this before, but it was in this class that I understood and became aware of the importance of including every student’s perspectives, cultural backgrounds, and individual experiences. This course served as a pivotal moment of enlightenment, revealing the significance of fostering an inclusive and diverse learning environment. It not only broadened my understanding of diverse cultures but also emphasized the need for educators to go beyond the differences of every student.

I enjoyed reading Bell Hooks perspective on Chapter 3, Embracing Change in Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom as she challenges educators to reassess their pedagogical approaches, advocating for a transformative education that values diversity, embraces multiple perspectives, and fosters a sense of community and shared goals. Her insights prompt us to reflect on how we can contribute to creating more inclusive and empowering learning environments.

Moving onto our next assigned article for this week, Tutoring ESL Students: Issues & Options by Muriel Harris and Tony Silva, the authors delve into the complexities faced by tutors working with ESL students. The central theme revolves around the challenges in determining whether a student’s difficulties lie in language proficiency or writing skills. The authors emphasize on the intricate negotiation process between tutors and students when establishing the tutoring agenda. Harris and Silva make an impactful statement when they mention the possible issues ESL Students and tutors can come across:

A critical question by Harris and Silva revolves around the tutor’s ability to determine whether a student requires assistance primarily with language proficiency or the writing process. Tutors face the challenge of navigating this intricate relationship to identify the specific causes of a student’s writing difficulties. This can be a pivotal point for tutors, urging them to cultivate a solid understanding of language nuances and be discerning when language challenges might mask the student’s genuine writing capabilities. Harris and Silva stress the tutor’s multifaceted role, emphasizing the importance of a nuanced assessment that connects language proficiency and writing skills. The authors highlight the dynamic nature of this assessment, urging tutors to adapt their approaches to cater to each student’s unique needs.

The article Tutoring ESL Students: Issues & Options by Muriel Harris and Tony Silva serves as a valuable resource for tutors, offering insights into the complexities of working with ESL students. They provide guidance on navigating the delicate balance between language proficiency and writing skills, emphasizing the importance of tailored tutoring approaches that address the unique needs of each student in this diverse and dynamic educational world.

Breaking the Cycle: Paulo Freire’s Approach to Empowering Education

This week we focused on chapter two: the “banking” concept in education in Paulo Freire’s book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, based on lived experiences of oppression and how he translated such a reality into a pedagogy that would emancipate the oppressed into becoming more aware of themselves as persons within a particular historical context and be empowered to become agents of social change.

Pedagogy of the Oppressed presents a sharp critique of the conventional banking model/system of education, where teachers deposit knowledge and information into a students mind and later withdraw it during exams. In this model, students are not given a chance to participate in the learning process, nor are they provided with opportunities to express their ideas about the subject matter or relevant issues. Freire’s book challenges these teaching approaches where educators assume they possess all the knowledge while students are presumed to know nothing, resulting in being taught and disciplined accordingly.

After reflecting on Chapter 2 of this book, all I could feel was frustration and fear. I felt frustrated due to the recognition that traditional education systems, represented by the “banking model,” perpetuate historical inaccuracies and myths. For example, in particular, the glorification of Christopher Columbus as a hero, despite his involvement in violence and the enslavement of indigenous people can be deeply unsettling. This frustration stems from a sense of disillusionment and anger at the realization that I was taught these inaccuracies, which might have shaped my understanding of the world.

I also fear that younger generations be subjected to misleading narratives and inaccuracies. My fear reflects a broader worry about the consequences of a flawed educational system that perpetuates harmful stereotypes and glosses over crucial historical truths. Misconceptions like Christopher Columbus could continue to shape the worldview of future generations, potentially perpetuating injustice and bias.

Pedagogy of the Oppressed is relevant and timely towards establishing new paradigms in education and the educational system that would seek to incorporate creative, liberating, and life-affirming approaches to learning processes. This means incorporating various academic curricula relevant to historical issues that affect the lives of the people as well as the socioeconomic and political systems and structures where these issues operate. Teachers should be more caring with the information they teach their students and encourage dialogical education, a two-way exchange of ideas between teachers and students, enabling learners to question, challenge, and co-create knowledge. As well as teachers should not view students as passive learners. Instead, they should be treated as active participants in the whole learning process with a rich deposit of knowledge and perspectives in terms of their lived experiences.

Educators, AI, and (my) Anxiety

The articles this week did not help my ever growing anxieties about AI. Alberto Romero article opened up some new avenues of anxiety. I had only thought of ChatGPT assisting human on writing, grammar, essay prompts, (bad) poetry, and then he started to list off the other AI programs being created by: google, facebook, the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence (BAAI). He even went as far as claiming ChatGPT as OBSOLETE. With the speed that AI is upgraded, how far have these programs progresses since this article’s publication date (Aug 7, 2021).

 It may not replace us from being writers, but the price of our work would decrease significantly, even if the value we produce is constant.

Alberto Romero

This quote struck at my creative anxiety hard, (the wine im drinking isn’t helping) because if the ease of creating articles and essays with AI making established writers uncomfortable, imagine how I am feeling, a novice attempting to enter the medium of publishing my own thoughts and creative endeavors. If someone can just have AI write for them and just “edit” their voice in what chance is there for me who wants to organically create. It doesn’t help that Romero ends the article with personifying AI and suggesting that we befriend it, rather than use it sparingly or intelligently or anything other way that doesn’t attempt to give it life.

in Erik Ofgang article Free AI Writing Tools Can Write Essays in Minutes. What Does That Mean for Teachers? he directs the anxiety to the Pedagogical field, a field im reluctant to join but its not out of the question. In it he relates the usage of AI to plagiarism. Which is the right direction in my opinion, however how can you identify AI writing when its being used in conjunction with the student. Like I mentioned above, you can edit your voice in to the writings it generates. Ofgang cites an op-ed in The Guardian which suggest repositories where papers can be checked for plagiarism and restrictions and age-verification systems but these are surface level restrictions only meant to limit misuse. I can think of several way of bypassing these systems which I wont go into.


Ofgang ends the article with a AI generated passage and a comment “it may not win a Pulitzer but it’s probably good enough to get a good grade“. Therein lies the rub. Students who regularly enlist the help of AI are doing it to cut corners, to not have to do the work and just get the grade. Maybe the importance we place upon grades for accomplishing the task is to blame for this snowball turned avalanche. Students only caring about a getting passing grade rather than genuinely learning the skills necessary to writing proficiently. Who is to blame then? the students utilizing a tool, or the decades of value placed on a outdated grading system.

Trauma Informed Pedagogy & Theories of Care for Learning in Community

Photo by Recep Tayyip EROĞLU on Unsplash

The article assigned for class this week discusses the impact of trauma on a child’s ability to learn and how educators can mitigate its effects. Authors, Dorado and Zakrzewski, believe that the result of a child’s behavior is chronic exposure to traumatic events beyond their control. Trauma can cause a child to suffer from other social, psychological, cognitive, and biological issues, making it very difficult for a student to succeed in school. The article discusses complex trauma that occurs through repeated and prolonged exposure to traumatic situations, most of which in a caregiving situation. The authors explain how complex trauma wears a groove in the brain and that when something non-threatening happens, it reminds the child of a traumatic incident. Their bodies replay the traumatic reaction, mobilizing them to either run from or fight the threat. 

I thought it was helpful that Dorado and Zakrzewski offer strategies to teachers that have students with complex trauma. The first strategy is recognizing when a child is going into survival mode and responding to them in a kind, compassionate way. Second, create calm, predictable transitions. Third, praise publicly and criticize privately, and lastly, adapt to a classroom mindfulness practice that will benefit students’ mental health. 

The first strategy, recognizing when a child is going into survival mode and responding to them in a kind, compassionate way, is tremendously important. Traumatized students may exhibit a wide range of behaviors that can be disruptive in the classroom, but teachers need to understand that these behaviors are a natural response to trauma. By responding with kindness and compassion, teachers help create a safe environment for their students and provide them with the support they need to thrive.

The other strategies, such as creating calm, predictable transitions, praising publicly and criticizing privately, and implementing a classroom mindfulness practice, are also incredibly important. These strategies help students feel more secure and comfortable in the classroom, which can lead to improved academic performance and a better overall learning experience.

Overall, this article provides valuable insights into the impact of trauma on student learning and offers practical strategies that educators can use to help students. It’s important for educators to understand the complex issues surrounding trauma and to provide their students with the support they need to succeed in school and in life.