What is Feminist Pedagogy?
A distinct learning theory, Feminist pedagogy theorizes about teaching, learning institutions, and knowledge as a democratic concept. Taking the traditional measures of education being the responsibility of the teachers, feminist pedagogy places the responsibility on the students. It also propositions that the best learning environment should be one wherein students' opinions and ideas are regularly contributed to the learning process.
Typically teacher resources, worksheets, and lesson plans are presented in a mixture of lectures, readings at the appropriate level, class discussions to integrate the ideas of students, activities for smaller groups to create an environment for better discussion, as well individual writing. While reading and group discussions are intended for the students' individual goals, the role of the teacher is to guide students into interpretations or conclusions that are founded in facts within any text or material. Feminist pedagogy is distinct in their encouragement of individual conclusions combined with a mutual respect for disagreeing conclusions from other students, or perhaps just an understanding of all other conclusions with no personal conclusion drawn.
There are six fundamental principles to feminist pedagogy. First is the relationship amid the teacher and the student. The second, empowerment, the third is constructing a community. The fourth is the privilege of voice. The fifth is respect for diverse personal experiences among all students. Lastly is challenging typical learning ideals.
While ideally used in a university setting, feminist pedagogy can be employed in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, or universities. Since each individual is different and thus their background, motivations, ideals, are all diverse, discussion within the feminist pedagogy can be difficult as it relates to literature because it forces students to open up, share personal views or understandings, make assertions derived from facts, and accept that there are many right answers and that being different is not wrong. The goal of feminist pedagogy is mainly focused on equality. It challenges students to avoid controlling others, using advanced rhetoric to manipulate or alter other persons' views or interpretations, and instead to simply each contribute within a safe and free environment where they can trust that their voices and opinions will be valued.
By participating in this type of discussion and learning, students find their voices, are empowered to deliver their thoughts and challenge traditional acceptance of education. They no longer need conform, but rather respect old measures or new measures and contribute their own to the overall process. This freedom of rhetoric creates a community within the classroom, and eventually within society, which nurtures growth and equality. Authority is not focused on one author or one teacher or one leader, but rather open to a multitude of voices, imperative to crossing cultural lines. By nullifying these differences and accepting diversity, relationships and social ideals are only part of what builds an experience both individually and as a community. Respect, critical and positive thinking, and empathy create better relationships and safer, more open learning environments. Lastly, by removing the connotation that education is only given to those privileged enough, or those of the proper gender or family background, education becomes free. It no longer sets distinction among friends or family or neighbors, but allows everyone the same opportunities.