Feminist pedagogy is grounded in feminist theory, and it stems from critical pedagogy.
Feminist pedagogy is concerned with existing and historical power systems and relations while also incorporating the concept of intersectionality (Vanderbilt). Feminist pedagogy adopts a classroom model in which teachers become students and students become teachers. Power is shared within the classroom (Vanderbilt). Feminist pedagogy seeks to connect social justice with learning, and acknowledges a connection between power and knowledge in the learning environment (Vanderbilt).
Knowledge is socially produced rather than individually produced. According to Freire, when knowledge is treated as individually produced, this leads to a view of knowledge as "a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those whom they consider to know nothing" (Freire, p.72). Freire terms this the "banking" model of education. In this view, students become repositories of information and are inactive, passive learners.
Feminist pedagogy affirms that identity is intersectional. Intersectionality is the concept that "different aspects of identity and systems of oppression" are interconnected and inextricable (Vanderbilt). Intersectionality is accounted for in feminist pedagogy. Because of this, the following are components of feminist pedagogy:
Feminist pedagogy affirms that personal experience (including emotion) is a valid form of knowledge.
Community is "the understanding that members of a group have of themselves as a collective and how they relate to each other based on that understanding" (Vanderbilt).
Because feminist pedagogy stems from critical pedagogy, a key figure in feminist pedagogy is Paulo Freire, whose work Pedagogies of the Oppressed heavily influenced critical pedagogy. Another major figure in feminist pedagogy is bell hooks, whose work Feminist Theory: from Margin to Center was highly influential.
A major figure in feminist pedagogy is bell hooks, whose work Feminist Theory: from Margin to Center was highly influential.
Empower students through activities that allow each student and instructor to share power or control over the course.
Assign students activities that allow for students to take turns leading the class and invite collaboration. An example of this would be to have a student present on a topic, then lead a discussion in which a variety of perspectives are desired. These perspectives may be heard in silence while the student takes notes on their answers and considers their own initial reactions to their peers’ answers. (Chick)
Facilitate a discussion in which students get into small groups to develop 1-2 of their own goals for the course. As groups report back, students see how the goals relate to one another and collectively incorporate them into the syllabus. (Chick)
Consciousness raising - group activities which emphasize dialogue and allow for students to share their experiences around a topic and locate shared experiences.
Connect students' classroom experiences with the "real world," allowing them to find practical applications of instruction they can apply elsewhere.
bell hooks - A scholar, feminist, and activist whose work focuses on intersectionality, feminism, and critical pedagogy.
Paulo Freire - Paulo Freire (1921-1997) was a philosopher of education whose work became the foundation of critical pedagogy. Read more about Freire.