Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 40 seconds

Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

#MOOCMOOC Critical Pedagogy – the book club I wish I had 5 years ago


Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 40 seconds

The upcoming #moocmooc book-club-like thing on critical pedagogy is like everything I love in one place… Umm like cinnamon rolls and warm milk on a warm day in the sun.

What am I on about?

Way back in 2006/2007 when I started my PhD research on critical thinking and discovered there was this other ‘thing’ called critical pedagogy… A thing that for some odd reason no one at my university (in Cairo, where I lived, not Sheffield where I studied) seemed to be talking about. And it confused the hell out of me. I kept nodding my head reading Freire and Giroux but not knowing what to do with it… It took a long time to feel like I “got it” and it was a long search for people to talk to about it. There was, of course, my PhD supervisors (I had a change of supervisor coz one left the uni midway through my thesis) and sometimes when I visited Sheffield I would find people to talk to about it. I found a few people in Egypt (people I knew from NGO work, but who were not academics or educators) and at AUC (educators in different disciplines) who could talk to me about it… But all of this was informal. There was no avenue to actually sit and discuss and analyze the texts, the authors, the confusion I felt reading them and yet the passion I felt reading them.

When I was excited reading Shor and Freire’s Pedagogy of Liberation, I had no one to share it with; when I read and re-read Ellsworth’s Why Doesn’t This Feel Empowering, I had no one to discuss it with. Lately, I have been blogging from my bell hooks readings and interacting on gender issues and loving this, but it was scattered and not in a community per se.

And now this… This online book club. I’ve been part of book clubs before, i love them, and i love online ones as well (Barnes and Noble had a good one going). But none about a topic so dear to my heart.

What I love about MOOCy things is the community focus and the intensity of discussing a particular topic for some amount of time. I know that participating in #digiwrimo and reading and writing about writing definitely made me more reflective about my own writing in ways that do not happen every day. I know participating in #ccourses made me more aware of elements of connectedness and what they mean to learning.

So this upcoming moocmooc is the cinnamon roll (critical pedagogy) and the warm milk (the comfort of community to discuss it with – what I missed most about my lonely PhD journey) And it is outside (public on twitter and blogs) in the warm sun (Hybrid Pedagogy feels like a warm sun to me – enlightens and warms me at the same time).

Who’s in?

I’d say “this had better be good” but that assumes a recipient view. So I’m gonna say, “we’d better make this good” because I am sure it will be what we make it. That’s what good MOOCy things are. Professional and personal development spaces where participants make things happen together.


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