Student and teacher rethink the potential for queering in the classroom | Social justice

Harrison Hamm, a double major in Women’s and Gender Studies and Screenwriting, and Dr. Sue Scheibler, Associate Professor of Film, Television and Media Studies began an honorary research project titled “The Queer Class : Rethinking the power in pedagogy. The project involves researching queer pedagogy and putting into practice a queer teaching culture and style. Scheibler in 2018.

The duo said they created the classes based on what they would like to take on their own. Their project aims to rethink the relationship between teachers and students. They use “queer theory and queer pedagogy, education, anti-colonial and anti-capitalist pedagogy,” legitimized by their research, to guide their courses, Hamm said.

Building a relationship of equality as co-educators became the inspiration of the couple. They see themselves as a unit, working together to bring their own unique perspectives to students while deconstructing the power dynamics typical of students and faculty.

Through both the research project and the adoption of this queer approach in their classes, they seek to create a space that encourages faculty and students to approach learning with a curiosity rooted in their own unique positions and histories. . Scheibler explained that the goal is for students to feel safe enough in the classroom to develop their own ideas and engage in a “fruitful digression,” which seeks to question – or “queer – everything.”

Scheibler explained, “I think by encouraging students to think about queering, it relates to what we want LMU students to do when they go out into the world, to actually try to be all queer, all glitchy. , to really make a difference in the world. “

The duo discussed how their own unique perspectives as “minority educators” shape the way they approach course material and how they encourage students to thrive in the classroom.

“Coming from the background we come from, I have learned a lot by virtue of my own experience. Bring that into the classroom and being able to relate enough to the text, to our scholarship, not only in a very academic way, but through the emotional, through our experiences, through our emotions and everything, I thinks so in many ways queer the way we engage in knowledge production, ”explained Hamm.

Hamm continued, “We’re really trying to create spaces where students feel not only encouraged to learn, but really encouraged to grow and be curious – to develop these types of learning that are outside of” Did I get Note ? “. .. ‘Did I understand this material perfectly?’ We are much more interested in coming to class with questions, confusion, enthusiasm, with these new ideas.

Scheibler and Hamm recognized the University Honors Program for its community-oriented culture and the encouragement of their collaboration and work together. They specifically pointed out the former director of the specialized university program, Dr Vandana Thadani, and the current director, Dr Trevor Zink, for supporting the experimentation and taking risks in the classroom.

“I really think we owe a lot of our ability to practice this and the origin of our love for doing it together to Dr Thadani and the University Honors program for creating that kind of opportunity… for instilling that kind of culture. it really encourages that kind of closeness between students and faculty and seeing what we have to learn from each other, ”Hamm said.

Scheibler and Hamm hope to work towards a future in which other faculty and students feel comfortable creating fair and fun relationships together. They believe it will help create safe classroom spaces that encourage collaboration, questioning, experimentation, and enthusiasm.

“I think we really want to make an opening,” Scheibler said. “We’re thinking about equity and inclusiveness and how to create more accessible classrooms… If you make a classroom a learning space that everyone is welcome to participate in, it that we think through this idea of ​​“queering” of spaces, then students you don’t need to look for accommodation… because the class is already so inviting for everyone.

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Estelle D. Eden

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