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

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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