pedagogy is personal

photo of Midd President Laurie Patton delivering the Inaugural Symposium Keynote Address at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

President Laurie Patton at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies

In Laurie Patton’s Inaugural Symposium Keynote Address she includes a light nudge, a suggestion, a challenge perhaps, or simply a note sounded as way-finding signpost: pedagogy.

“If curriculum can be part of our creativity, then pedagogy cannot be far behind.”

Like many of her premises and provocations that evening, these words set loose a flutter of resonance within me, both in the moment and later on.

Yes, pedagogy.

And pedagogy is personal.

‘Curriculum’ is courses … course titles and credits and readings and assignments and outcomes.

Pedagogy is me standing up in front of a group of bright, ambitious, humble, and hell on wheels impassioned graduate students, week after week, semester after semester, year after year.

photo of student reading practitioner texts at whiteboard

student at the Nov 13th convening

Graduate students who all share some sense of a larger world beyond our own national borders. Some sense of the powers — and inherent limitations — of language, of the intricate dance of crossing cultures, the quixotic boundary waters of navigating hierarchies, the tactful and spirited questioning of dominant paradigms and assumptions.

Students who — like us all — are actively engaged in a life-long process of navigating these mysteries.  Of refining who we are in the world, our choices, our habits, our actions, our mindsets.

Students who — like us all — are trying on new roles and identities and voices as we go.

Pedagogy is also me standing with, in front of, and beside my faculty and staff colleagues. Listening, offering up questions, sharing perspectives, looking for the threads of congruence and sparks of perceived conflict as they glimmer and snap in the periphery of our vision but the core of our hearts.

poster from Dec 4th event

faculty poster from Dec 4th convening

So, yes, pedagogy is personal.

It is me, and you, and her, they, and him, becoming — for at least a moment or two — less INvisible, less protected, less safe.

Pedagogy is risk.  Pedagogy is potential.  Pedagogy is a wild, ever-changing ride that confounds and delights me.

Pedagogy is exploring and discussing and witnessing and sharing this with others.

Pedagogy is personal.

Over the coming months I — Sarah — will be composing a weekly Deans’ Seminar pulse.  A brief summary of thoughts, impressions, images and quotes that seek to capture a cross-section of themes and conversations from the week as well as to trace the arc of the convenings over time.

My hope is that you will join me, adding your own voice to the discussion and debates. We welcome participation and contributions from members of the extended Middlebury Institute community of faculty, staff, current students, alumni, and friends … and beyond.

You are invited as well to show up in person, to contribute here via the comments, and to engage with the practitioner communities with whom you, personally, are most deeply connected.

We’d love to hear from you, in whatever format makes most sense to you.

Please join us.
~ Sarah & the Deans’ Seminar Coordinating Committee

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Deans' Seminar 2016

6 thoughts on “pedagogy is personal

    • Yeah, that’s one of the things that intrigues me: the interplay between the types of large-scale shifts that he calls out in that video and elsewhere, and all manner of internal recalibrations that such things may entail, on a very small scale.

      Would love to hear more re: the personal being ‘derived’ — my head goes straight to math derivations, then to Latin roots.


  1. Pingback: from the periphery | idealpractitioner

  2. Pingback: literate engagement in a complex world | Deans' Seminar: Ideal Practitioner

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