Us and them: finding irony in our teaching methods
This paper reports a collaborative project to explore our work as teacher educators, an effort to reconstruct a stance for ourselves in relation to our students. Our analysis is aligned with feminist post-modern perspectives, involving a reflexive representation of our teaching identities. To collect these expressions, we kept a real-time dialogue journal, sitting together weekly over the course of a semester, writing to each other in conversation about our ongoing interactions with students. We reviewed these written records looking for contradictions in our talk about our students and our methods of instruction. This paper shares our discovery of the ironic in our desires for authoritative knowledge, effective methods, coherent organization, and harmonic relationships that mirrored our students' requests of us. We suggest the importance of planting seeds of irony alongside our teaching recommendations, so that our students might recognize and embrace the limitations of our authority. I wonder about the value in talking about what concerns us in our teaching. The labels we dredge up get us to the same old places where we win, students struggle, and colleagues don't get it. Well, I don't usually get it either. I mean, I think you can get used to an audience and figure out how to address it, and that might get you good course evaluations. But to what end? (Hinchman, 9 September 1995).
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