A project-based learning experiment in feminist pedagogy

This presentation provides a compressed experience of project-based learning (PBL) as implemented in a course on gender, race, and science, co-taught four times for the Boston-area Graduate Consortium on Women's Studies. Evaluations of the course document a tension between initial discomfort and subsequent appreciation: “you might think you aren’t sufficiently grounded by the course [but] being on the other side of it now, I see it works out beautifully.” Teaching the course has nudged us to explore this and other tensions that run through PBL teaching, what makes pedagogy feminist, and the challenge of drawing students into developing their own narratives about how to learn without a sequence of texts assigned by a teacher to dictate the logic of learning. The project to be explored in this presentation raises all these issues for session participants to explore and share. Handouts with links to webpages will provide the details about PBL and the course that might have been covered in a conventional presentation.

Presented by Peter Taylor
at Society for Social Studies of Science conference, Barcelona, Sept. 3, 2016

Practice run of presentation (showing visual aids): http://youtu.be/ENF_YJIKoTk

Course websites (2009-2017): http://grst.wikispaces.umb.edu

Project-Based Learning: http://cct.wikispaces.umb.edu/PBLguidedtour

think-pieces on feminist pedagogy (work-in-progress): http://wp.me/pPWGi-JY; see also http://wp.me/p1gwfa-EB, http://wp.me/p1gwfa-FK

Essay on my path to PBL, "Bring all to the table," for a forthcoming festschrift-ish anthology.

Further exchanges welcome via peter.taylor@umb.edu Thanks.

One question I would like to explore more about students developing learning narratives:

Plus: One thing you appreciated; Delta: One thing that could be developed further:

notice that fewer audience members submitted this feedback than for the question above
Plus: I get to think about alternative pedagogical methodologies. Delta: More info about in what sense it is a “feminist” method.
Plus: Acknowledging that attempted interactivity would be interesting in the conference setting. Delta: More framing – I'm not sure I've taken enough new info away to think about.
Plus: The interactive element woke me up. Delta: Incorporate some movement for us.
Plus: The energy of the presenter. Delta: More time to share what I wrote with others.
Plus: Think PBL with feminist theory? Delta: --
Plus: Nice to see PBL discussed here. Delta: Hear more about your scenarios – I teach PBL in feminist STS too!
Plus: Free writing. Delta: Outline what a learning narrative is.
Plus: Thinking about a very practical and relevant issue. Delta: Can you make this a longer workshop next time?
Plus: -- Delta: Do not speak more agitated just because you do not have as much time as you would like to have.
Plus: -- Delta: be more concrete!
Plus: Interactive!! Delta: first free writing was okay, maybe it needs more leadup?
Plus: Feminism as part of the construct. Delta: More experimental modes of teaching shown and modeled.
Plus: That you created a space for thinking about feminist pedagogy at a very large conference. Delta: Would like an idea of whether you place any boundaries around topics to be explored by students.
Plus: Interactive things in 15 minutes! Delta: Content of the interactive exercise a bit fuzzy.