2022-07-06-20 Jesse Stommel Pedagogy begins with small gestures

Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer): Pedagogy begins with small gestures. What we ask to be called. The online platforms we use. The first word of our syllabus. A single tweet.

Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer): Small gestures. Whether our statement about basic needs is at the beginning of our syllabus or at the end. Whether we simply cut and paste our disability statement or say something directly to students, in our own voice, about how we've worked to make the course accessible.

Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer): Grander gestures grow from these smaller expressions of our values.

Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer): Whether we know if students had breakfast or if they have a safe place to live. Basic needs insecurity demands a policy response and also a pedagogical one.

Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer): How much a K-12 school district pays its substitute teachers. Whether all teachers earn a living wage. Whether a university pays its adjuncts for faculty development, especially if required, but even if not. These things tell us whether and how an institution values its teachers.

Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer): Forcing students to upload their intellectual property to a plagiarism detection service, one that monetizes that work through its database, tells students how much we value and respect their work (and all intellectual property).

Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer): When an institution subjects students to remote and algorithmic proctoring, it tells students how little it trusts them and that it values the policing of their behavior over their learning.

Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer): When we uncritically use grading systems (and standardized assessments) that crudely rank students against one another, we show that we value competition over collaboration -- that we value systemic reproduction of privilege over equity and Justice.

Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer): When an institution requires us to subject students to bureaucratic (or any kind of) abuse and we comply, we show students that we value the needs of the institution over their learning and humanity.

Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer): When we offer "accommodations" without starting by building flexibility into the design of courses, curricula, and institutions, we show that "access" is only available with special permission -- and we reinforce hierarchies that harm disabled and other marginalized students.

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