To Alan Kurdi from Canada: Yesterday your small, lifeless body washed up on the shores of Canada via an image that will forever haunt me.

Alan Kurdi

Alan Kurdi as I will remember him

Yesterday your small, lifeless body washed up on the shores of Canada via an image that will forever haunt me.

I lay in bed tonight sleepless, as though the waves that carried you to rest on that beach in Turkey were battering against my mind, and knew I needed to write to you, little Alan Kurdi. You see, as Canada woke up Wednesday morning to an image that brings even the most stoic among us to tears, they also woke up to the reality that someone had failed you. We wonder, is it the Canadian government? Did they not hear your aunt’s pleas? Is it that we have not been quick enough to act against the terrors of IS in your home country to save you in time? Is it your parents’ fault, for trusting you to the uncertainty of a dangerous boat? Is it your father’s for losing grip to your small hands?

I am awake to tell you that I have failed you. To say that, a world away, your plight has not been a focus of my mind, or my country, or my elected officials. I write to you to say that while leaders say humanitarian efforts are not enough, every inch of my human body wishes I could hold the man who carried you from that beach and tell him, this is not your fault. I see that image and feel your body in my own arms. I want to shout, is it not human enough to spare another child an end on a beach? I cannot accept a world that will ever forget your image. Not the one on a beach, life gone, but the one shared by your family, laughing with all life’s opportunities still before you. Perhaps a smile I might have seen one day in a classroom in Canada. But, never to be.

Alan, I am awake to tell you and your older brother Galib that your aunt is right. We are all to blame. The whole world let this happen to you, and many other little children. It could just as easily have been another name, another small body, on another beach. We must not keep failing. I do not know how yet, but I will do what I can to be sure you are never forgotten, like seaweed on a beach; you will be the last child to wash up on Canada’s shores if I have anything to say about it.

Recent and Upcoming publications

writeratwork-sm

As my dissertation research and writing comes to a close, my mind and efforts turn to several new projects that are patiently boiling over on the back burner. As such, I thought it might be nice to share a little bit about these projects as they come into publication, or start taking shape:

Upcoming:

1. The Corset and the Curriculum: Four Feminist Readings of a Strong Disney Princess, in J.A. Sandlin & J.G. Maudlin, (eds) (July 2015). The Disney Curriculum: Education, Culture, and Society. New York: Peter Lang Publishing

This piece, authored with 3 of my fellow PhD colleagues, Annette Furo, Nichole Grand, and Pamela Rogers, was also showcased at this year’s AERA conference in the form of a beautiful poster by Pam. We are very excited about it, and here is a small abstract as a teaser. For the full thing, look for it July 28th, 2015:

Once upon a time there were four feminists and a Disney princess. The Princess, Merida, was “independent and brave”, a “Princess by birth and an adventurer by spirit”. Merida was born of the 2012 Disney franchise Brave, a trailblazer in the portrayal of strong royal heroines. The feminists wanted to embrace a new type of heroine but knew that despite years of criticism for the gendered portrayal of females in Disney films, Disney princesses continued to be one of the corporation’s most iconic and lucrative cultural symbols. Through four critical readings of Brave, the feminists find that Merida’s plotline does not represent a significant departure from Disney’s previous princesses after all.

2.  Radical Youth Pedagogy: Flipping the culture of the Classroom. Sense Publishing (Winter 2016)

Wow. We’re writing/editing a collection! Nichole Grant and I are extremely excited by this book in progress. Right now, all of our authors are currently working away at their first chapter drafts, while Nichole and I are also working on our own chapter contribution,Leveling up: a video gamer’s approach to Anti-Racism education

Here is an abstract to give you a taste of this labour of love we are both very excited about:

The purpose of this edited collection is to act as a toolbox for educators wishing to radicalize their classroom approaches, disrupting normalized pedagogy in favour of youth voices. We envision classroom philosophies that practice from the perspective of students, working from their culturally appropriated spaces. We strive for radical classrooms, and non-classrooms, that engage in everyday youth pedagogy, that create opportunities for othered voices to be heard, and that decolonize traditional models of schooling. We are attempting to work in the ‘cracks’ of equity education – such as how gender or First Nations work and perspectives overcome often being relegated to the cracks of education research (Bush, 2003).


Recent:

 I update my publications section as often as I can remember, but thought it might be helpful to add a few of my recent publications, with links, on this post:

1. Schmitz, K.C., Twitter Pedagogy: An Educator down the twitter rabbit hole. Hybrid Pedagogy (Feb, 2015)

2. Why is my gaming avatar so ‘hot’? Gender Performance in online video games, in A. Ibrahim and S. Steinberg (eds) (2014). The Critical Youth Studies Reader. New York: Peter Lang Publishing

Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Girls and Women part 2

resistance

Honestly, I’m beyond disappointed that I am having to write a blog about this yet again…https://kelseycatherineschmitz.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/missing-and-murdered-aboriginal-women-of-canada-make-sure-they-are-heard/

This week my heart aches as I read two news stories about aboriginal children, an 11 year old murdered girl, and a 17 year old young woman so systemically abused and abandoned she overdosed.

I’m sick of the way this country turns a blind eye to the rampant abuse and neglect of our First Nation and Aboriginal children. I’m sick to death of the cries for an inquiry into missing and murdered women and children of aboriginal background falling on deaf ears. I can only write so many letters, so many emails, so many posts before I recognize that the fault also lies on all of us…those of us that aren’t showing outrage where outrage is warranted. Those of us that aren’t writing our local papers, our MPs, the Aboriginal and Northern Affairs office. Our politicians who do nothing, our Ministries for child welfare that throw up their hands…they are OUR elected officials. Their inaction is our inaction. Their harassment of good women like Cindy Blackstock, one of the best aboriginal child advocates this country has seen, who headshttp://www.fncaringsociety.com
and who is regularly treated like a terrorist under investigation by the RCMP and Aboriginal Affairs Minister is disturbing, and just plain wrong.

Why aren’t you doing more for the women and children of this country?

Girls like Paige: http://www.cbc.ca/…/death-of-b-c-aboriginal-teen-paige-blam…

Teresa Robinson: http://www.cbc.ca/…/teresa-robinson-s-death-apparent-maulin…

Pauline Crane, who is still missing http://www.cbc.ca/…/winnipeg-police-look-for-missing-paulin…

Or the unnamed 6 year old girl kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and left for dead on the Paul First Nation in Alberta at Christmas?
http://www.ctvnews.ca/…/man-accused-of-attacking-girl-6-on-…

The missing women showcased from this past year: http://www.cbc.ca/…/missing-murdered-unsolved-cases-of-indi…

You know what? 11-year-old Valyncia Sparvier has done more to educate the public around social issues with Missing and Murdered Indigenous women than the Canadian government has.
http://www.cbc.ca/…/saskatoon-girl-educates-peers-about-mis…

So, come on, Canada. Write your MPs, get involved in the projects with Amnesty International or First Nation Caring society to help make a difference. AND vote in MPs who GIVE a damn about those who need it most in this country: Not big oil, not foreign Chinese investments, not CEOs….but little ones who aren’t protected from harm, women who grow up in poverty and abuse, and know nothing else. Please, let’s help our own, let’s demand better of our elected representatives, and of ourselves.

Emails of note:

Jean Crowder

Nanaimo—Cowichan

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL OPPOSITION CRITIC FOR ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS

jean.crowder@parl.gc.ca

Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Direct email website: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/contactpm

The Honourable Bernard Valcourt
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
10 WELLINGTON ST
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H4
Canada
InfoPubs@aadnc-aandc.gc.ca

The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8

Email: mcu@justice.gc.ca

A corseted curriculum and reflections on #AERA15

This past week, I had the privilege of showcasing an upcoming chapter that I have written along side colleagues Nichole Grant, Annette Furo, and Pamela Rogers. Pam and I traveled to Chicago to attend our first ever AERA (American Education Research Association) conference, with a fabulous poster in hand. We were asked to do this by the editors of the upcoming collection: ‘The Disney Curriculum: pedagogies of being and buying’ Julie Maudlin and Jennifer Sandlin. This was a great opportunity to meet our editors, and fellow chapter writers.

For two graduate students lost in a sea of academics, this session felt like home. We were supported and encouraged to shine while sharing our research, and got to spend time answering in depth questions on the balance of Disney and learning.

Pam and I also reflected a great deal on what we saw/felt throughout our time at the conference. This is something we are going to work on further as a potential paper, but I just wanted to share a few observations I had as a graduate student and as a Canadian:

-There is more openness to feedback and suggestions at American conferences. People are more willing to challenge or suggest in these spaces

– The people of Chicago are extremely helpful and friendly. Maybe it was just me, but I definitely felt that welcome.

– Seeing the evidence of racial divides, as well as issues with health care, on the streets of Chicago was shocking to me. I live in the capital of Canada, Ottawa, and the discourse of our issues with minority groups, as well as our lack of support for individuals with mental health issues, is demonstrated in the homeless population on our streets. However, walking around Chicago I was forced very quickly into my visit to take in the narrative of racial divide. Almost all the individuals I encountered in the vicinity of the conference were African American, and a great majority of them had visible, physical issues, ranging from missing limbs to an individual with diabetes covered in open sores that were shocking. I struggled with this particular individual the most. I walked passed him twice on Friday…my heart crying out, seeing the pain he must be in, parts of his flesh completely gone. and I could do nothing. I didn’t know what to do. The conference went on, people flowed passed him on the bridge between the Sheraton and the Hyatt, and I felt inadequate to assist this man.

-I felt like I did not belong. This is a strong statement that I will qualify with the fact that many of the issues being dealt with at the conference were American, and not something I could often connect with. But also, as a young woman with dyed flaming red hair, many tattoos, and leopard print Keds, I searched for people who looked like me, who expressed themselves like I did, visibly showing their negotiation of culture on their persons. I did not find them, which felt very isolating. Perhaps they were there all along and the conference was just too big for me to see this, but it is how I felt. Interestingly enough, and something that will be explored further with Pam and our writing, those that often reached out to me, sought me out to speak about my hair, or to make me feel welcomed, were women of colour. I did not make this connection until our last night, talking over the day with Pam. However, it made me wonder quite strongly about how they felt about belonging in this space, about who owned it and how they negotiated it. Something about me made several women reach out to reassure me I belonged, and all I can think about is who disrupts the nature of belonging in massive, corporate feeling conferences like this. We will definitely be exploring this, and if anyone else wishes to share their feelings about belonging in this space, please feel free to comment

Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women of Canada: make sure they are heard

This post will be a little more on the political side than I would normally share, but this is an issue near to my heart, heavy on my soul.
Earlier this year, the RCMP branch in the Province of Saskatchewan released a report on the number of active cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada: 1,200 cases in nearly 3 decades. 1200 women murdered or missing. Gone.

While these numbers may have greatly shocked me, members of Saskatchewan’s First Nations communities, especially those working on issues in poverty, women’s health, and abuse, are not surprised.

Locations of current open cases of missing or murdered aboriginal women in Canada/USA

I self-identify as a Metis woman. I embrace that history, culture and struggle, and try to learn as much about my family’s heritage as I can; but my life has never involved living on a reserve, or being faced with systemic poverty, abuse, and/or violence. Cultural genocide, residential schools, poor housing, all realities/historical influences of growing up Aboriginal in Canada. I acknowledge my heritage, but I’ve never had to suffer for it, to be labelled, or disenfranchised because of it. As such, I know only those with that experience can speak to the problems and issues within their community. I see that First Nation communities want to find answers and solutions through their community: to have their services and programs bolstered by support through a national program that acknowledges there is a big, big problem here: there is a culture of systemic violence and abuse towards girls and women of aboriginal background, and something in our current system is keeping them vulnerable and targets of that abuse.

Some may say, well is this not the job of the police? the RCMP? Why do we need a National Public inquiry?

My response: Tina Fontaine. A beautiful, vivacious 15 year old struggling to find where she fit in her family who ran away from home. After she was reported missing, and before her terrible death, police found her…and let her go. They failed Tina, her family, her community. She wasn’t brought in to the police station to be reunited with her family. She wasn’t questioned about being missing…she was just set back out into the night, by police officers trained to deal with crimes, not systemic poverty, violence, alienation and abuse. She is just the latest example of an aboriginal girl or woman left to fall through the cracks of the Canadian justice system.


We need an inquiry, a national one, that examines the communities affected at large, and suggests ways programs in place can be improved upon and motivated towards creating safer and healthier communities. An advocate I have come to admire greatly spoke to the special parliamentary committee on violence against aboriginal women almost a year ago, Dr. Cindy Blackstock. I won’t go in depth into her passionate, clear and sound plan of action for improving the lives of aboriginal women across the country, which you can read in the minutes of the committee found here. However I will highlight one comment she made:
You’ve heard the stories by others much more expert than I and closer to the matter about the perils many indigenous women face in this country, but some of those challenges in many of those cases could have been prevented had the women received the right service at the right time when they were children themselves.

Cindy is a passionate advocate for children’s rights in this country. She specifically works towards improving the education and health of children living in communities with substandard living conditions, poor education facilities, and lack of access to good health practices, through food, doctors’ and with histories of drug and substance abuse within the community. Voices like Cindy’s, and many other passionate people of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal status need to be seen and heard, to show us where we are failing as a Canadian Nation when it comes to girls and women of Aboriginal background in this country. We need to know, so we can start as communities to answer for it, to bring those services and programs that will help improve so much. Programs that will keep girls like Tina off the street and in their homes.

A former student of mine from the Kitigan Zibi tribe in Maniwaki Quebec once shared some insight on the issue of understanding between cultures. He said one of the biggest issues we have between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada is a lack of understanding and compassion for each other. He often discussed with his high school students the problematic nature of media and representation of Aboriginal peoples in Canada; he believes we need to build more bridges, share more stories, and create a space for young people to embrace both their Aboriginal culture, and their identity as Canadians. I think the idea of sharing stories, creating those memories in learning that bind us to a cause and to a belief in justice is a strong one.

That sharing of stories, or images that tell a story, is what led me to write this blog in the first place.

This great awareness campaign is what motivated me to write this post, and I’d like to share it with you. Before the Christmas holidays, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, when asked what he was doing about a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women stated: It’s just not on our radar right now.

In response, Evan Munday will be tweeting a drawn image of a missing or murdered woman every. single. day. to PM Harper’s account….to help put it on his ‘radar’.

Share these tweets! But also, write to your local MP, the Prime Minister’s office, our Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, and our Minister for Justice to show them this IS on our radar, and our government’s continued disdain for these victims is deplorable and unacceptable.

Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Direct email website: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/contactpm

The Honourable Bernard Valcourt
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
10 WELLINGTON ST
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H4
Canada
InfoPubs@aadnc-aandc.gc.ca

The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8

Email: mcu@justice.gc.ca

To my internet troll: not another stuffy academic

I will categorize this as: An angry blog post that turned into a learning moment. I received a pretty harsh comment tonight on my blog. Yeah, I know, it’s the internet, suck it up princess, etc. This one in particular, however, called me out for being pretentious in my approach to a new reader a colleague and I will be editing, that calls for emerging scholars and educators to help contribute to the discussion of pedagogy in the classroom from the point of view of youth. In the call, we ask people to share, examine, and critically analyze pedagogy (the way we teach, why we teach it, and how, basically) from a youth culture perspective. In a nutshell, how educators can and do flip their classroom culture to focus on the values and focus of young people.

However, this comment from an unknown individual suggested that we academics get off our high horse and ask teachers how they are doing this in their practice instead of theory vomiting our own opinions (I know, we are asking that, and they missed the boat…but I will answer it anyway). We envision this collection from educators and new scholars to be the kind of tool we reach for in our preservice classes, or engage with in those first few years of teaching. You know, those years where you spend hours Googling new ways of approaching *insert discipline here*, or struggle with coming up for a use for your whiteboard, or think ‘oh boy, do I dare give them slam poetry/hip hop/lyric assignment I was thinking might be neat?’ Because, guess what? Practice alone does not a teacher make. Nor does theory. It is our hope, however, that a reader that shows classrooms that give students the freedom to engage with learning on their terms, through their culture, might inspire teachers, new and old, to power share and flip the script of their classrooms and non-classrooms alike.

When we approach our classroom practice from a solid, practical only background, we are missing out on the important ways we can engage with different types of learning, from numerous different schools of thought, culture, and belief. However, the flip side, when we focus solely on the style or theory of learning, we blind ourselves to what this looks like in the classroom. It is my opinion, and that of my colleague Nichole Grant, that approaching learners, curriculum and our own pedagogical beliefs as educators from a praxis school of thought, one where we seek to understand our practical approach through and with theory, we create more meaningful spaces of learning.

As an example of my teaching practice at the high school level, I often try to integrate popular games into my classroom practice. As an uptight, slave to theory (insert sarcasm quotes here) I could rely heavily on the theories of learning and literacy developed by James Paul Gee to dictate my classroom practice; or, as I did the first few ‘trials’, I could simply rely on my teaching skills and my desire to engage my students on their level. However, what ultimately resulted in stronger, more meaningful learning for my students and I was for me to approach my individual classroom with the needs and skillset  we all had as teachers/learners, armed with a theory of learning that is ever evolving, digital learning, and engage in theorizing. Gee outlines types of learning that can emerge from gaming in the classroom. If I were to solely rely on these, make a rubric, and dictate the evolution of learning in my classroom, I would suck the joy of letting students learn from a familiar, meaningful curricular tool. Instead, as my students led what learning and engagement was to be had from the game I brought in, I was able to connect it into learning theory, take it up, and help them along in their journey of understanding Napoleon. I also engaged my students heavily in feedback discussions. Where this particularly began to emerge was when using the game, called Napoleon Total War, to visually and physically (digitally, anyway) situate my students in the Napoleonic culture: through war simulations, economic discourse, and political intrigue, we attempted to sink our teeth into the subject matter they found boring and dry in their textbooks. Without the constant feedback or evaluation of learning occurring (or not) in my classroom, I could not pedagogically utilize this curriculum tool.

Beyond that student engagement, I relied on the intersection of theory and practice, coined praxis. I could also name this a type of theorizing, where theory emerges through concepts and practice in research fields or classrooms alike. I will not launch into a teaching moment on praxis in this post. Better scholars (and TEACHERS, for that matter) have many a blog/website/learning group that engage with this. For a great resource on the topic, see Pedagogies for Change and their historical overview of the term and it’s presence in education. I will, however, recognize that this uninformed (and frankly, not very nice) comment I received tonight simply made me more resolved in our approach to this future reader: we want new educators and researchers to share their voices, their discussions with young people, the ways in which they make space for the culture of youth that matters to them, and gives voice. We have so many exciting examples flowing in; a particular favourite is examining how young people are taking up activism on gender and gender violence in schools in various places across the world, from Canada to India. With that, I call out our meany internet troll to take notice: academics and researchers are teachers too. I share my journey, with my titles, as learner, teacher, researcher, writer and human with the young people who shape me and push me and challenge me to be the kind of teacher that never is afraid to let them be themselves, and bring what they value most to the space I value most: The classroom.

A #voice: Social Media and social movements

Last night I was a guest lecturer in the Schooling and Society course for the teacher education program at the University of Ottawa. I gave a lecture on Social Media, digital technology, and their impact on teachers, students, and the classroom.

I’ve given lectures on this topic a few times; each time the discussions with students are unique, my shared content changes, but overall, how we feel about technology and it’s encroaching nature is a prevalent theme. I try to give them snippets of a variety of issues around social media and young people: are kids tech savvy? Are the social media savvy? Do we, as teachers, need plans in place to have a discourse about social media in our classrooms? I think, as with any new technology, it’s important to have a pedagogical stance on introducing new tools in our classroom, from books to instagram. However, another important part of the equation is being able to have critical discussions about the media our students are consuming, digitally or otherwise. This gets to be a sticking point with some future teachers, and current teachers, alike.

Last night, while discussing the positives and negatives of digital socialization through games like World of Warcraft, I made a comment about some people needing a different space to have a voice. This set one student’s arm waving, and when he spoke, I had a teaching moment that has set my head on a 24 hour spin. He said “you’re not saying that social media provides an actual voice, are you? That Martin Luther King Jr would have been just as effective on a hashtag than the mobilization of people in real life?” This serious, genuine question was great. It made me reflect on the discussions of past lectures around things like #Idlenomore and #Kony2012; it instantly brought to mind the number of articles I have read on slactivism, that online petitions and sharing videos on Facebook do nothing for us. I sometimes like to refer to these click and watch videos as emotional porn: We tear up, we repost, we engage friends in a little dialogue. But usually, the pet causes of Facebook are left there.

But I also think we CAN have a voice, and a great impact, in digital space for mobilization, sharing, and support for causes. Just this past month, my good friend Nisha and her partner, using social media sites and a kickstarter campaign, raised enough money to pilot an episode of their new show, UPLIFT, a news show where they travel to different countries to meet people affected by a conflict or complex issue and the community builders, artists, activists, social entrepreneurs and innovators working on a solution. They started their campaign on Facebook and other social media sites, and word spread quickly about them; they even showed up on the popular site Upworthy, that shares motivational, life changing, world altering clips and articles. (See their video and showcase on Upworthy here)
This is just one example of using social media and the digital realm to bring change in the world around us.

Perhaps less sophisticated but no less important are the use of hashtags on Twitter and Facebook to link to important topics and issues happening every minute. As an example, #blacklivesmatter has become a mobilization hashtage for people across North America, even the world, to participate and comment on the issue of violence against black men by police forces in the United States. Yes, we are having these conversations digitally. But we are HAVING them. We are giving room for stories, narratives, pain, joy, arguments, and resolutions to be shared. There are any number of movements, like #YESalldaughters or #Icantbreathe that are mobilizing people towards change, and giving victims voices.

Because of the openess of the digital world, it’s important to have discussions around critical media and consumption of information in social media spaces…but it’s also important to recognize the validity of identity created in those spaces too 

Radical Youth Pedagogy: Call for Chapters

Submission by: March 1st, 2015 Radical Youth Pedagogy: flipping the culture of the classroom

Editors Kelsey Catherine Schmitz, PhD (ABD) and Nichole Grant, PhD (C) , invite you to consider their call for papers for a future published collection with Peter Lang Ltd.

1) Context:

The purpose of this edited collection is to act as a toolbox for educators wishing to radicalize their classroom approaches, disrupting normalized pedagogy in favour of youth voices. Today’s classrooms are ruled over by neoliberal politics, governed with a doctrine of standardization and testing. Teachers and students are forced to negotiate the political agenda of modern schooling (Pinar, 2003). The power struggle over the classroom is further complicated by the increasing corporatization of schools and the historical legacy of eurocentric models of education. From the colonization of indigenous cultures to the legislation of gendered pedagogy, classrooms are overshadowed by robotic pedagogy and curriculum that fails to recognize the culture that already exists in that space: youth culture. Through Hip Hop, gaming, dance, social media, and sport, youth find their voices, opportunities to engage in learning, and ways to teach others their knowledge. In youth engagement, we find a pedagogy of hope; as Freire states “Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world” (p.115). By creating spaces for student voices, their experiences and presenting a flipping of classroom culture, students can acknowledge and explore multiple ways of being, of reading the world and resisting oppression (Brady & Dentith, 2001; Greene, 2001).

Giroux writes, “while it is important to politicize the process of schooling . . . what is also needed to supplement this view is an ennobling imaginative vision that takes us beyond the given and commonplace” (On Critical Pedagogy, p. 39)

2) Goals:

We envision classroom philosophies that practice from the perspective of students, working from their culturally appropriated spaces. We strive for radical classrooms, and non-classrooms, that engage in everyday youth pedagogy, that create opportunities for othered voices to be heard, and that decolonize traditional models of schooling. Rather than thinking from the perspective of theory and education from the top-down, we are thinking from the perspective of students, and their culturally appropriated spaces. How can their culture inform our pedagogy in the classroom? We are attempting to work in the ‘cracks’ of equity education – such as how gender or First Nations work and perspectives overcome often being relegated to the cracks of education research (Bush, 2003). In essence, we see collecting research that reflects these practices as creating a toolbox for educators to guide them into a radical pedagogy of youth culture.

3) Scope of invitation for papers:

We invite emerging scholars to submit chapter proposals that flip the script (Ibrahim, 2014) of schooling, focus on the possibilities of youth culture pedagogy, and engage with practice that brings youth culture into the classroom. These submissions should examine engagements with youth culture in the classroom in relation to curriculum content, teacher-student interactions, youth culture outside the classroom, and pedagogical philosophies. We invite submissions of critical perspectives on race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, indigeneity, and digital spaces that reimagine and radicalize youth pedagogical practice.

We seek diverse methodological approaches including but not limited to those that take up perspectives of ethnography, textual analyses, narrative inquiry and interpretative analyses, and/or approaches that combine one or more of these perspectives. We also welcome theoretical perspectives to studying youth culture in the classroom that include but are not limited to socioeconomic, political, cultural, feminist, posthuman, and postmodern approaches to youth culture and pedagogy.

Prospective contributors should submit a one-page overview of their proposed chapter, including a brief abstract with a description of the chapter’s central argument, and a potential list of references.

Please send all submissions and inquiries to: radicalyouthpedagogy@gmail.com

DEADLINE: March 1st, 2015

The fear of digital self promotion

As a master’s student, I worked at a resource and tutoring centre on campus that was run by our residence department. Every year around exams, I would have to cold call students to let them know their parents had purchased an exam care package for them, and where they could pick it up. Unfortunately, not a lot of them knew what our resource centre did…and so I got a lot of hang ups and annoyed responses to my ‘Hello this is Kelsey calling from [insert resource centre here]’. People hate being cold called. We dislike having our meals interrupted by telemarketers trying to sell us things, or random people coming to our doors spreading a message, or wanting to inspect the ducts. 

We don’t like to be bothered or intruded on by things we see as outside our business or personal lives. Even if that Rogers rep is going to save you 15$ a month on your internet, you still feel like raging when they call and interrupt the Bachelor.

Enter technology: Now we have a variety of ways we can be bombarded by people trying to sell us things we aren’t interested in. Instead of a cold call, we get Shopify emails, Linkedin popups and Facebook ads triggered from status updates. We get spambots tweeting us, texts from our phone companies reminding us to pay our bills, and any other number of intrusions from the digital world.

Now, as a digital educator and researcher, most of my work is performed in a digital context. I write emails to colleagues, g chat with students, and tweet fellow academics from around the world when trying to solve a research problem. I also teach workshops on digital citizenship and digital identities to K-12 students, university students, and teachers. As I branch into the realm of ‘consultant’, I recognize that my promotion of self, in a digital context, veers into this cold call behaviour we all so loathe. My Linkedin suggests my skills to anyone remotely related to my field of work, my face pops up when anyone Googles digital identities, and now I will unfortunately bombard my friends and family with this blog about my fear of digital promotion.

I have spent the morning ‘self promoting’ by emailing various school boards and police agencies about my workshops on digital citizenship. I have struggled on just how to conduct myself digitally while doing this. It isn’t easy for me to self promote even in the best circumstances, while meeting potential clients and colleagues in person. The marketing of consultation is a self promotion minefield. All interactions reflect on my ability to be the best education consultant for the job. I am still struggling with the negotiation of how exactly to advertise and promote my skill set, but I think that is the beauty of the digital age: we are all learning how. It’s why I do what I do; technology, digital identity…it’s an ever expanding, ever changing realm of knowledge, one where you have to be comfortable at adapting and learning as you go, always.

I am really interested to hear what others have experienced in the field of academia, consultation work, or digital self promotion; what tricks and ideas would you like to share with others? I have found the best trick so far for me has been to really build up my digital presence to create a positive digital footprint, by which others can see my skill set and success in my field thus far, as a non-intrusive way to digitally self promote.

An Academic down the Twitter Rabbit Hole

My post tonight is going to explore the various ways my academic life has negotiated the use of Twitter.

I started using Twitter several years ago as a platform to tweet ideas, opinions and rants about politics and education. It was not connected to me professionally until this past year when I began a series of ‘experiments’ where I live tweeted during lectures for Schooling and Society, giving students the opportunity to ‘talk back’ during the lecture without having to talk aloud. Along side a few T.A.s,  questions and comments were hashtagged with #biglecture and I turned to certain questions and ideas into group discussions.

There were successes. There were trolls. There was some drama, but for the most part, it became a new way to interact with students during the lecture. We had a discussion afterwards about what they thought about my calling on certain students comments or questions via the twitter thread. Some found it distracting to the lecture, and some found it a really great way to see what other people were struggling with. After reflecting on this with them, I decided future use of live tweeting while lecturing and projecting it on the big screen can be problematic. As a place to gauge where students are at with the theory behind the lecture, it is fantastic; but the distraction element is important to highlight too.

This week I live tweeted during a guest lecture, talking with my students online, helping them deconstruct the lecture WHILE it was happening. It was a less intrusive live tweet, as it was never called up on the overhead projector, but I wanted to give my students the opportunity to question/trouble/deconstruct the lecture as it was happening, as the topic, Racism and Anti Racism in Education, was a heavy one.

When we broke out into our smaller discussion group today, we referred back to the series of tweets I posted to highlight the lecture, and find meaningful questions/debates around anti racism. With many of the ‘main ideas’ or take aways from the lecture accessible on my twitter feed, we could do a compressed walk through of a difficult lecture.

At the beginning of this semester, I gave out my twitter handle to my students, letting them know that throughout the week I would continue the discussions around our lecture, as well as other hot topics in education and social issues that we all brought up using twitter. Of course, important questions and concerns are not allowed to be directed to the Twitter, but it’s slowly becoming a space of continued interaction with students. It’s resulted in students stopping me in the hallway to discuss an article I’ve tweeted, or to ask a question about #FirstNations issues in environmental education highlighted in the retweets of Fractured Land and it’s focus on Caleb Zabdi Behn‘s struggle for Environmental Sustainability in Canada.

Tonight, I participated in my first live tweet #moocmooc hosted by Hybrid Pedagogy . It was a fast paced, rapid fire discussion of boundaries to the classroom instilled by the structure of syllabus and conventions of industrial institutions of education. In these tweets and dialogues with others, I disrupted my notion of syllabus as a contract, and began to recognize how much I myself push at the constricting boundaries of the container of higher ed. As the hour reached it’s peak, I was sad for the conversation to end, but PUMPED at getting to connect with radical pedagogues from all over looking to cut through constricting ropes and reach students to create opportunities for them to connect with their learning on their own terms. I’m really looking forward to continuing to interact with this series on twitter each week (Next week will be hosted at 1pm eastern, follow @hybridped for info on the weekly topic of discussion)

For a wonderful discussion/resource on twitter in the classroom by Michelle Kassorla in Hybrid Pedagogy called: A Primer for EdTech: Tools for K-12 and Higher Ed. Teachers