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Lessons from the Classroom: Renegotiating Critical and Feminist Pedagogy in the Middle East
Unformatted Document Text:  Often in the Middle East, higher education for young women was viewed with suspicion, and no where is this more true than among first generation women college students in the Gulf, who feel insecure about their abilities to succeed in higher education. For that reason a class premised on feminist pedagogy and nonhierarchical design, which creates a nurturing environment for learning, that is safe and supportive as well as an intellectual community that is student centered, holistic, collaborative and challenging, is ideal for first generation women students in the Gulf. A main principle of feminist pedagogy is the strive for egalitarian relationships in the classroom, Maher and Tetreaut (1994) note that student-centered learning is an important feminist teaching strategy in which student learning is constructed “through the interactions of communities of knowers” (Garber, 2003, p. 22). Voicing uncertainty, recognition that evolving though is tentative, raising questions: these are signs of involved learners. Empathy, caring, emotion and connectedness in such discussion is a way of learning that can foster more equitable classrooms based on the cooperative development of ideas. A questioning voice encourages elaboration, gives space for another tentative student to enter the conversation. Feminist pedagogy emphasizes the value of all individuals, and the use of students' experiences as a learning resource. According to Tomlinson and Fassinger’s (2002) survey of feminist educators, they found that feminist teaching practices value and draw out personal experience as a strategy for empowerment. Emancipatory or Liberatory Effect: • The compounded effect of these principles contributes to the emancipatory function of the feminist classroom. • Growing out of feminist consciousness-raising, this approach emphasizes feminist teaching as a practice of liberation. • The function of the teacher is thus to act as a transformative intellectual, releasing students from false consciousness. In emancipatory versions of feminist pedagogy, feminist teaching is a political practice challenging dominant structures of power. In the process of revealing to students the character of their oppression, students become empowered. Essentially, both critical and feminist discourse emphasize the role of teacher as learning facilitator and not a transmitter of knowledge. The aim is promoting social change through individual self-understanding 7

Authors: DeVriese, Leila.
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Often in the Middle East, higher education for young women was viewed with suspicion,
and no where is this more true than among first generation women college students in the
Gulf, who feel insecure about their abilities to succeed in higher education. For that
reason a class premised on feminist pedagogy and nonhierarchical design, which creates
a nurturing environment for learning, that is safe and supportive as well as an intellectual
community that is student centered, holistic, collaborative and challenging, is ideal for
first generation women students in the Gulf.
A main principle of feminist pedagogy is the strive for egalitarian relationships in the
classroom, Maher and Tetreaut (1994) note that student-centered learning is an important
feminist teaching strategy in which student learning is constructed “through the
interactions of communities of knowers” (Garber, 2003, p. 22).
Voicing uncertainty, recognition that evolving though is tentative, raising questions: these
are signs of involved learners. Empathy, caring, emotion and connectedness in such
discussion is a way of learning that can foster more equitable classrooms based on the
cooperative development of ideas. A questioning voice encourages elaboration, gives
space for another tentative student to enter the conversation.
Feminist pedagogy emphasizes the value of all individuals, and the use of students'
experiences as a learning resource. According to Tomlinson and Fassinger’s (2002)
survey of feminist educators, they found that feminist teaching practices value and draw
out personal experience as a strategy for empowerment.
Emancipatory or Liberatory Effect:
The compounded effect of these principles contributes to the emancipatory
function of the feminist classroom.
Growing out of feminist consciousness-raising, this approach emphasizes feminist
teaching as a practice of liberation.
The function of the teacher is thus to act as a transformative intellectual, releasing
students from false consciousness.
In emancipatory versions of feminist pedagogy, feminist teaching is a political practice
challenging dominant structures of power. In the process of revealing to students the
character of their oppression, students become empowered.
Essentially, both critical and feminist discourse emphasize the role of teacher as learning
facilitator and not a transmitter of knowledge. The aim is promoting social change
through individual self-understanding
7


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