Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Listening to “Bad” Students Can Make Us Better Pedagogues

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Ok ok. I truly loathe the term “Bad” student. I don’t label my students like that. A more accurate description of what some people mean when they say “bad” student is either
A. A person who learns differently from the way the teacher would like to teach
B. A person who resists conformity to classroom/social “standards”
C. A person whom teachers have trouble getting through to or engaging

I know I know. It’s pretty difficult to concentrate all your efforts on that one person and ignore the rest when if you spent half as much energy on the rest you could get awesome results.

But who’s to say that concentrating on that one is “lowest common denominator” rather than a more equitable move that could potentially benefit all? (no guarantees).

I have written before about how most academics were/are nerds. We weren’t the typical student. We also (no matter how subversive we are now) managed to negotiate the educational systems we were placed in and succeeded. Face your inner conformist now (even historically) and count yourself VERY lucky if you were able to grow into a more rebellious/subversive (in a good way) person.

So here’s what triggered this post. I am known for resisting reading Deleuze & Guattari, have been against making it required reading in rhizo moocs (required? In a MOOC? No such nonsense… But still, making it central to discussion isn’t my favorite thing).

And yet, in the role of bad (read: resistant, subversive) student I came up with a brilliant idea (if I do say so myself..  I am so humble).

The idea came first from Ana Salter’s Prof Hacker piece on comics as scholarship in which she links to this article on books introducing Foucault and Derrida in comic form. (I bought both books and more!). Note: I was just part of a process of accepting a comic piece in a traditional peer-reviewed journal Journal of Pedagogic Development. Will share when published.

So I tweeted to some rhizoers a suggestion that we create a comic version of introducing D&G concepts as a #rhizo16 project. Looks like many people loved this idea. I hope it flies 🙂

As bad student, I may not contribute a lot of the quotes (i really should try reading that book A Thousand Plateaus again) but I can definitely help in saying whether what we come up with helps explain concepts to a newbie like me. Because the book I got introducing Foucault (that’s the one i started with) more reconfirms what I know of Foucault (which isn’t much but I do know a bit) so I don’t know how it feels to a total newbie.

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