by Shane A. Wood
Pedagogue is a podcast about teachers talking writing.
Pedagogue is about building a supportive community.
Pedagogue is committed to facilitating conversations that move across institutions and positions.
Pedagogue is designed to celebrate the labor teachers do inside and outside the classroom.
The purpose of Pedagogue is to promote diverse voices and help foster community. Each episode is a conversation with a teacher (or multiple teachers) about their experiences teaching writing. Teachers at diverse institutions talking teaching. Teachers sharing assignments, best practices, materials, assessments, classroom challenges, and successes. Each episode is an opportunity for listeners to be encouraged and inspired by great work being done elsewhere. From graduate students to distinguished scholars. From large public universities to community colleges. From high schools to elementary schools. From Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). The podcast is an opportunity for us to come together as teachers – a space where we can listen and learn from different perspectives and experiences.
For the first and second episode, I had the privilege to talk with Mike Rose, a teacher-scholar who has taught for fifty years in a wide range of settings: from kindergarten to adult literacy programs to the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. Rose, author of Lives on the Boundary: The Struggles and Achievements of America’s Educationally Underprepared, has been influential to research in education and writing studies. In those episodes, we talk about his first experience teaching sixth graders in a working-class White and Latino community in California, how his teaching has changed, how interdisciplinarity plays a part in his classroom, and how he responds to student writing.
In Episode 1, Rose says, “There’s something profoundly special it seems to me about having the good fortune to teach because you really are participating with other people in their development. I mean, what other kinds of work allows you to do that?” Pedagogue attempts to show the profoundly special nature of teaching and writing.
Most of my favorite conversations happen inside the classroom with students. The classroom is where local communities happen; where people come together and diverse perspectives are heard, where we listen to one another and grow together. The writing classroom is an incredibly special place. Dynamic, too. Perhaps one of the most fascinating parts is how that classroom community changes each quarter, semester, or year as new students come and as our theories and pedagogical practices progress. The conversations that happen in the classroom change – identities, knowledge, perspectives, and experiences are always shifting.
There’s also another space I find extremely generative and transformational – and that’s when we come together as teachers and colleagues to talk about teaching. You know, when we sit around the same table and ask questions: what are you doing in class? what’s working? what’s not working? what’s it like teaching this type of writing task or engaging with that type of reading? how are students responding? how are you being an advocate for students and their labor? Pedagogue has the potential to make these localized table conversations larger, which can hopefully serve as a resource for teachers.
I think the podcast has a chance to be a resource for all teachers. Ultimately, my hope is that these conversations are practical and accessible and that they can help all of us. Some episodes might be used to help mentor graduate students teaching writing, perhaps in a teaching practicum classroom setting. Other episodes could help more experienced teachers interested in incorporating new pedagogies, or new writing tasks and material. Some episodes might help college writing program administrators re-imagine program curriculum and faculty/professional development, while other episodes will focus on teaching writing at the secondary level. Some episodes might be dedicated to specific topics: assessment, technology, responding to student writing, social justice, writing across the curriculum, community partnerships. There are a lot of possibilities for us to consider writing knowledge and practices.
The heart of Pedagogue is teaching and writing.
Shane A. Wood is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi. He taught at California State University, Fresno and the University of Kansas as a graduate student, and Haskell Indian Nations University as an adjunct. His research interests include writing assessment, rhetorical genre studies, and responding to student writing.