As I was doing my capstone project, I ran across the term “feminist pedagogy”. I always assumed that pedagogy was just “the how to teach your subject”. I asked the teacher and she gave me some interesting articles about this subject. As I read the article Radical Pedagogy: A Feminist Perspective on Student Assessment: An Epistemology of Caring and Concern, I found information about the art of teaching.
I say the art of teaching because it is not enough that you know your subject in and out if you can’t get it through to your students. What really spoke to me was the statement that Lambert made about the nine feminist principles, about how “feminist theory offers the potential to challenge hidden assumptions and beliefs and thereby effect change in ways that can improve the lives of those who have been invisible, powerless, and disenfranchised”. Caring is the main component of feminist assessment. Caring in the feminist pedagogy means the teacher needs to encourage students to go on to succeed and not give up. She does this by providing clear and honest feedback on the students’ products or performances. If she just lets them think they are doing ok without correction, this is a form of discrimination, since the student will be left uneducated. Another point that was made was about the democratic classroom, which is achieved by the teacher sharing the power with students. Even in K-12, this can be done by using the power to teach children how to make good choices. Through the teacher’s knowledge and skills to impart and students’ need for a greater chance of social mobility and success, a democratic classroom can be achieved. So what is feminist pedagogy? It is viewing assessment as a process through which the teacher continuously monitors her teaching and the student’s learning. This way, the students uses their work as evidence that they have met a clearly stated criteria depending upon the intended audience. The student will work hard to improve their work until they have met the criteria. This feedback allows him to engage in critical thinking skills, and also motivates him to examine what can be improved. The teacher strives not to be permissive, and instead provides a safe place for students to experiment intellectually and socially, so that dissonance leads to change as part of the learning process. This encourages free speech and ensures equity in students’ behavior. As a result, the teacher can help the student to make better choices. When students are of the other background, teachers must respect the students’ home culture and teach them mainstream cultural expectations, thereby bridging the two. This provides an awareness that lets the student identify for themselves historical limitations based on their unique needs and pushing them at the same time to learn. If teachers adopted the art of teaching based on the feminist pedagogy, several students would benefit and hopefully then no one would be left uneducated or discriminated.