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Radical Hope: A Teaching Manifesto (Teaching…

Radical Hope: A Teaching Manifesto (Teaching and Learning in Higher… (edição: 2020)

de Kevin M. Gannon (Autor)

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Título:Radical Hope: A Teaching Manifesto (Teaching and Learning in Higher Education)
Autores:Kevin M. Gannon (Autor)
Informação:West Virginia University Press (2020), Edition: 1st, 180 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Etiquetas:teaching, Higher Education

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Radical Hope: A Teaching Manifesto (Teaching and Learning in Higher Education) de Kevin M. Gannon


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It was ok but there isn't much there there. It's basically "be kind to your student", which, I guess is radical in the larger context of the attacks on higher education. However, by keeping everything centered at the level of student - instructor interaction, it keep the scope individual rather than systemic and does not offer radical ideas about how to transform the institution. And only at the end does the author concede that some of this stuff is easy for him to say but not everyone is in such a privileged position. Otherwise, there is pretty much nothing on collective action or even collective thinking. It's all about the individual instructor being nicer to students.
As I said, not much there there. ( )
  SocProf9740 | Jul 11, 2021 |
I first became aware of this book via a UDL (Universal Design for Learning) podcast. Kevin Gannon seemed to balance the feel-good hopefulness with both pragmatic and practical information, and this proved to be true in this teaching "manifesto." In truth, the "manifesto-ish" parts could use a sharper editorial pen in places, but there are so many worthwhile pull quotes, I can forgive the bits of er...emphatic repetition. The real overarching concept here is that education should be transformational, not transactional. Is that revolutionary thought? No, of course not. But what Gannon so skillfully achieves is helping the interested teacher remember WHY that's important and to help that teacher feel motivated to make it happen--otherwise known as HOPE.

There is a lot of radical hope in this book--for students, for teachers, for education as a field. But it isn't all about inspiration. Gannon substantively brings in pedagogical theory, addresses praxis (a la Paolo Freire, and offers opportunities for reflection (freewriting, journaling) as well as suggestions for real-life application. Chapter 1, dramatically titled "Classrooms of Death" (I may have rolled my eyes), explains that a pedagogy of radical hope includes a "moral imperative to create the type of inclusive and equitable learning spaces in which our students become critically conscious and actively engaged in their own education"(23). I always cringe when I see the words "moral imperative" because as most of us know, that is hardly a monolithic concept for us humans. But I think Gannon's use of such weighty language here serves its purpose--this isn't just headwork, but instead also very much heart-work. This is work that asks for a reinvestment and a revitalization of student-centered pedagogy. Middle chapters provide information about UDL and how to implement it, as well as constructing "a syllabus worth reading" (Chapter 7). Chapter 8, however, is where I really started to connect. Even just the chapter's title -- "Pedagogy is not a weapon"--really grabbed me in some visceral way. It isn't that I should need a reminder of that, but it did drive home how easily weaponized pedagogy can become. The chapter focuses on the purpose and value of the transformative work. Particularly helpful is Gannon's discussion of "Safe Spaces and Trigger Warnings", which he more aptly advocates as brave spaces and content warnings. He invites the reader to consider these things as "pedagogical tools that allow for genuine engagement and confrontation with ideas and material" (113) and posits that they are a necessity in providing the required structure and support for that engagement and confrontation. One of my favorite quotes? "You may think you're being clever by utilizing shock value as a teaching tool, but more likely you're just being an asshole" (113).

We all seem to collectively agree that being an asshole is not sound pedagogy, yet--there's a lot of asshole moves out there in the teaching world. Sometimes it is a lack of recognizing the immense privilege we might hold in teaching spaces. Sometimes it is brought on by the "performative aspect of academic conversations" (133) and severe cases of imposter syndrome. But whatever it is, ultimately Gannon says teachers must see themselves as collaborators, rather than occupying "opposite points of some academic spectrum" (146).

The pandemic has many teachers feeling beaten down after what has inarguably been an extremely challenging and tiring year. Exhaustion rarely leads to active and inspired change. But Gannon manages--in a mere 152 (small) pages--to not only light the spark, but offers ways to take steps forward. "Manifesto" is perhaps a disservice here because what Gannon really provides is a hand, a ready assist for those who may feel a bit lost when charged to "decolonize" or "diversify" or "unlearn". These are valuable aspects of the work, yes, but all too often radicalized to the point of becoming just another academic, performative contest. The real radical idea, it turns out, is in the hope that "eschews despair, but does so in a way that often relies upon the faith that our current thinking and actions will create a better future--even without understanding what that future will look like" (4). Radical hope means we see teaching as a lively, dynamic commitment to the ongoing and sustained work of student-centered praxis, naming and demolishing systems of inequity, and employing an "emancipatory pedagogical vision" (150) in what is routine and mundane, as well as that which is unexpected and extraordinary. ( )
  rebcamuse | Jun 3, 2021 |
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