For the last several years I have taught (and learned) at a university in London. During that time Torygeddon has got into full swing, and students are ripped off like never before in history with outrageous fees turning a right into a privileged, and as little actual teaching as we can feasibly get away with giving them in our commercialized transactions.
In a rapidly changing educational climate our university no longer claims to be ‘extending participation’ although our student make-up has not changed. It has simply reduced. Teaching mostly young, mostly black, mostly women, mostly the first in their families ever to enter higher education, we pretend now that social class has nothing to do with it. our students are consumers, to be sold a product that makes them happy so they keep spending their money, not young people compelled to engage with an alien environment due to a rapidly changing economy and class structure that demands a degree to access even basic low income employment, and therefore ensures that these young women, through their exorbitant student loans, will always pay higher tax than their brothers.
As my own disabilities become more visible in the classroom I in turn become more aware of the high numbers of disabled students I teach, and the many hurdles they face in a hostile climate.
This blog explores teaching. And learning. It examines what the challenges are to working along side the students to create some meaning in a meaningless system set up to chew up and spit out young people (hopefully with a 2ii, but no danger of the contamination of any actual capacity to think for them selves). It draws on a philosophy of education that is inspired by bell hooks, by Paulo Friere and others who believe that education can be inspiration liberation and an act of revolution. On the other hand, expect fun, and indeed, sometimes vitriol to be poked at the dominant pedagogical notions of race and others with their pernicious notions of ‘constructive alignment’ and ideas that student come to the classroom devoid of curiosity, devoid of context, seeking only bite-sized pieces that they can put on their CVs to increase potential earnings, and nothing else. This blog will reflect and explore means of teaching that are creative, fun, authentic, and rooted in the students needs to understand their own lives and oppression. it will specifically and particularly explore the needs, wants, achievements and wonderful accomplishments of the students with disabilities who teach me something every time I give them a class.