Collaborative Writing, Woman Friendly Environment, and Bitch Pedagogy…wait, what?

I found Laura R, Micciche’s Feminist Pedagogies to be highly informational on how to apply a feminist approach within a Composition classroom. She shared many examples from credible authors and many approaches to explore within the classroom. The examples I will focus include: collaborative learning, creating a woman friendly environment where woman can feel free to use her voice, what it means to compose as women and last but not least, bitch pedagogy.

As a collaborative learning exercise, Micciche suggests placing students in small groups and discussing class related questions. This technique is applicable to any classroom and discipline as group work is the staple of collaborative learning. I for one try to utilize group work as much as possible within the classroom as it allows students to learn from one another and voice their own opinion if they are more on the timid side of speaking publicly.

A second technique to help express feminism within the classroom is to call primarily on female students to create a ‘woman friendly’ classroom (131). When I first read this I thought, “isn’t that alienating the males within the class?” but on a second thought, If a teacher can find a way to teach this technique and have students learn on their own what she (the teacher) is deliberately doing, this could also create a learning opportunity for the class a whole… a sort of role reversal from women being the alienated group, shifted upon the males. This creates opportunity to see what the males think, feel, and have to say about this experience.

This example corresponds with Elizabeth Flynn’s essay on Composing as a Woman. Flynn argues that woman write through a more about emotional sense and connection where men tend to stress individualization which emphasize separation rather than integration (588). Because Flynn believes woman write differently then men, the exercise of calling more on females within the classroom could benefit the class as a whole because it may force the males to think in different lights as to why the teacher is not directly calling on males.

In turn, the teacher could ask the students to write about this example and how it makes them feel within the classroom. Since the men in the classroom will be writing about emotion, they will then be able to write more in the mind-frame of a woman because they will be expressing an emotion, which Flynn also argues is a trait of woman writers (585).

The final approach (lightly) discussed in this response is bitch pedagogy. I found this to be intriguing because the name alone made me question its nature. This pedagogy is described as “assertive, confidant argumentative stance aimed at modeling how female students can occupy positions of power” (134). This approach relies on the act of the teacher opposed to an action of the student. If the teacher assumes this role and models it in the right manner, the message revieced should be that female’s students can be authoritative and taken seriously as a men are within a working environment and she can be firm, assertive, and authorative.

Personally, the name of this pedagogy seems derogatory but in a sense made me giggle as I read it because typically men use this term to refer to women when they are acting “bossy” or authoritative, so it does make sense for a woman to own this word and make it her own. I only wished Micciche would have included more information on the approach and possibly examples as she did with other exercises and examples.

Questions:

What are some other ways a teacher can apply feminist pedagogy to the classroom?

What are some examples and exercises one can teach “writing as a woman” other than what was said in today’s readings?

Is it safe to utilize ”bitch pedagogy” within a classroom and what could be the positives and downfalls of this pedagogy?

What are some examples of how and when to use “bitch pedagogy”?

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About hflute

Heather is currently teaching two sections of English 120 at NDSU while on a journey through academic enlightenment through the path of English Composition. She is passionate about reading a variety of books and is always excited to become encapsulated in an engaging research project. She also loves coffee and puns.

One thought on “Collaborative Writing, Woman Friendly Environment, and Bitch Pedagogy…wait, what?

  1. Heather,

    First, in terms of “bitch pedagogy,” follow this link to a nice summary under “Chapter 3” of the chapter in which Greenbaum lays out this argument: https://comprhetusc.wordpress.com/tag/bitch-pedagogy/ I think you’re right that she chooses quite deliberately to take on a term used derogatorily to refer to “masculine” women. Might be fun to read further. I still love the idea we talked about earlier for your project in this class, but a bitch pedagogy project would be pretty intriguing, too.

    Next, a clarification. When you discuss the idea of calling “primarily on female students to create a ‘woman friendly’ classroom” (131), you may be reading that passage more strongly than was intended. I don’t think she’s suggesting we should call overly on women but rather call on them more proportionally, as there’s some evidence to suggest men get more voice time in most classrooms.

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