Gender and Education Association: ISSUE
Introduction: Key tenets of feminist pedagogy
Feminist pedagogy is a way of thinking about teaching and learning, rather than a prescriptive method. As such, it is used in different ways and for differing purposes within and across disciplines and learning environments.
Definitions of feminist pedagogy vary widely, but there is common agreement on these three key tenets:
- Resisting hierarchy: In the learning environment, the teacher figure and students work against the creation of a hierarchy of authority between teacher and student; the students also deliver ‘content’ and influence the design of the class.
- Using experience as a resource: As well as using traditional sources of information, such as academic journals and books, the students’ and teachers’ own experiences are used as ‘learning materials’. The purpose of using experience as a resource is twofold: firstly, experiences which have not been documented in academic work are brought into discussion, and secondly the class participants experience transformative learning…
- Transformative learning: Feminist pedagogy aims for the class participants (students andteachers) not just to acquire new knowledge, but for their thinking to shift in new directions. This may involve the realisation that personal interpretations of experience or of social phenomena can be re-read and validated in new, critical ways.
Those who are familiar with Critical Pedagogy, the work of Paulo Freire, or theories of Transformative Learning, may be asking: what is different about Feminist Pedagogy?