Critical Thinking as Radical Pedagogy:
Academic Freedom and Inclusion in the Classroom
Teaching Matters 14th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference
April 1st-2nd, 2016
Gordon State College, Barnesville GA
As we attempt to “meet students where they are,” we are faced with a new challenge: maintaining academic rigor while promoting student success among an increasingly diverse group of students. Our classrooms continue to become more diverse as a result of students with different backgrounds, beliefs, and needs; and, while these differences can afford a more intense and exciting learning experience for everyone (including the professor), how can we effectively “bridge the gaps” between students in order to create a dynamic learning environment?
While post-secondary institutions have been jokingly referred to as “the ivory tower,” this allowed us to create a safe space for innovative and critical thinking. Now, college institutions have become recognized as what they truly are: sites of political engagement. And, while we strive to serve a diverse student population in our classrooms, we also have the responsibility of challenging them to critically think about the world around them. How can we challenge students to think critically—while validating their own views, which may conflict with other students’ beliefs? How do we promote inclusion while honoring intellectual freedom and freedom of speech—without compromising our responsibility to challenge ubiquitous belief systems? And, in asking these questions, we must also contemplate our dedication to our own growth as professors and intellectuals; are we willing to challenge our own beliefs, as well as our students’? If so, how do we accomplish this pedagogical approach while effectively providing the students with the necessary knowledge that they need from our courses?
About the Conference & Call for Proposals
Teaching Matters is celebrating its fourteenth annual interdisciplinary conference in 2016 at Gordon State College on its main campus (Barnesville, Georgia). Presentations/discussions will focus on innovative and creative pedagogical methods, approaches to various texts and/or concepts, and theories. The conference is open to all of those who have a passion for pedagogy; conference presentations are designed so that educators can share ideas and strategies that promote student success, student engagement, and active learning.