Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Discussion Questions for Week 13 - Jessica Spain

1. In Colwill's piece about team teaching she describes a scenario in which a student makes a comment that completely disrespects and dismisses the real experiences and more nuanced circumstances of undocumented Mexican immigrants to the United States. Needless to say, this comment is in complete discordance with the team-teachers' learning objectives for the students enrolled in the experimental interdisciplinary course.

Obviously, situations like these can not be contained to the professional realm, and professor's personal feelings of insecurity and anxiety often come into play.Colwill wonders if the student would have challenged professor authority and course materials in this way had her co-teacher, who is a man, were leading lecture than day, and a male co-teacher wonders what he is not teaching in his time spent with the class that is preventing any expression of student resistance.

All of us are, were, or will be teachers in one way or another and may experience resistance in the classroom that leaves us feeling lost, and perhaps even betrayed some student. What are some strategies we can develop in the face of these hardships to keep a healthy bodymindspirit? How can we nourish ourselves from a sentipensante approach when the going gets tough in this way.

2. In "Gender, Race, and Radicalism" Joy James
describes her experiences teaching a class on radical Native and African American woman activists. The texts assigned include the woman activists' autobiographies, and students were given the opportunity to engage with material that illustrates political circumstances as the actor experiences them, ans well as her opinions, reflections, fears, and aspirations.

How might choosing to teach the class with autobiography assist students, who are keeping their own journals throughout the semester, in reflecting on their own experiences with racism. How might a text book, or some other way of engaging with the material, limit students as they relate to the material in a way that inspires dedication to radical antiracist action despite the obstacles posed by conservative (and liberal)university settings?

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