Maha, like your comment: “It’s not that their preferences are not important, but that I think voicing their preference to me and hearing again why I did not meet those preferences was valuable in and of itself…” It might be that in the power differential between student and teacher that students stumble over making observations and sound critical when they are only noting their reaction. Commenting on the world, whether it presents itself as unbiased education or outright injustice is of great value to learn.
“They are not experts in the field and are not well-placed to assess the relative merits of a course” How would the article’s author have come to teaching from a feminist perspective if no one before had challenged the “well-place” to account for themselves? And of course there is the weakness of placing all students into the role of immature, uninformed and no doubt silly people trembling in the magnificence of received wisdom developed by mature, informed and thoroughly stuffy people who live in castles built entirely of correctness.
Yes there are problems with popularity. Though less I think than the problem with assuming students are not to be taken with faults and wonky assumptions. Unlike their professor:-)
Rebecca, discomfort seem like a valid form of ZPD. It initiates a desire (maybe a need) for resolution to be found. Do we always need to hit the correct answer first time out or does this create confusion and potentially remembering the wrong thing?
Maha I wonder if you can scaffold for everything? Maybe forcing a decision through difficult choices or uncertainty can benefit a kind of reverse scaffolding where you ask “what happened to cause you to make this choice?”