Historical Framing— Industrial/Indigenous Pedagogy
Image from CUNY Manifold App’s American Indian Stories by Zitkala-Sa Gertrude Bonnin.
Beginning class with one minute of mindfulness, we turned down the lights and closed our eyes. Our attention and sensory experiences refracted to different stimuli, internal and external, for a glorious 60 seconds. Then, we all went around the room to reflect on what that experience felt like. We spoke about a sense of inner peace, listening to one another’s breath, sounds of laughter rolling in from a class down the hall, and Orfield Laboratories’ anechoic chamber, where the longest any person is able to be inside is 45 minutes and where those inside can hear their own heartbeats.
Professor Davidson introduced this experience so we could consider how our sensory experiences shift when one sense is diminished. Professor Davidson’s mindfulness activity reminds us that embracing technology in the classroom isn’t inherently good or bad— instead we should reflect on our shift of attention when digital pedagogies are brought in and be prepared for these shifts in our attention and focus.
Professor Davidson’s and Vianna’s goal was two-fold, to usher in a class session that would look towards Indigenous pedagogies from Sandy Grande’s Red Pedagogy to Libby Roderick’s Stop Talking and then towards a collaborative public annotation exercise using Manifold’s edition of Zitkála-Šá’s American Indian Stories, Chapter Two: “The School Days of an Indian Girl.” Students gathered together in small groups to annotate the piece and their annotations can be seen here.
Professor Davidson and Vianna also experimented with taking stack in the classroom. Students anonymously generated questions that would be posed to the class while I kept a running list of students “on deck” and students who spoke on the question. Students who had already spoken on the question were placed in a queue. The goal of this practice was to encourage democratic participation in the classroom and to ensure we made space in our discussion for all students to speak.
Students on the left side of the room wrote down one urgent question they had about our readings from Charles Eliot’s “The New Education”, while students on the right side focused on Zitkála-Šá or the current historical and pedagogical writings by Indigenous scholars.
Student Urgent Questions about “The New Education”:
- “In Eliot’s article, he describes the use of requirements (e.g. languages) to select students for the science schools. Today, we have standardized tests. Has there been progress to include/adapt to students’ interests?”
- “Can an educational system based on foundational understandings of wilderness as something to be beaten/manipulated/controlled ever be repurposed to produce humans ‘at home’ in their environment? More broadly, what can education do to support a radically altered relationship to nature (here thinking of the Columbia School of Mining).”
- “Did Eliot consider his writings to be influential enough to create/refashion the American education system? If so, what would have been the measure of his influence had he hearkened to the founding ideals— liberty, equality, etc.— as an ethical core for the development of a new system?”
- “If disciplinary boundaries are products of an industry-driven value-system in the U.S., how might we work to disavow ourselves of these traditions while also empowering marginalized fields of study?”
- “Why do most educational institutions continue to follow the model created at Harvard so many years ago given that there is more access to travel and information today?”
Student Urgent Questions about Red Pedagogy, Stop Talking and other writings by Indigenous scholars:
- “What’s the story of people that had a bad experience within Aleut education? What does a bad experience look like in that context?”
- “How can we employ Indigenous pedagogical practices without coming across as ‘culturally appropriating’?”
- “How does the mistreatment of native students further the projects of settler colonialism and genocide?”
- “How do we overcome resistance from students, faculty, administrators towards the ‘embodied, direct, oral and visual style of learning’ described in Stop Talking (p. 4)”
- “The current educational system is so reliant on competition, productivity, individual excellence (etc.)— how can we, as instructors or future instructors, upend these values in the classroom? What strategies can we use to change our approach to teaching/learning?”
Industrial/Indigenous Pedagogy. Historical Framing: inequality was structured into industrial age higher ed, which we inherited. Simultaneously, indigenous populations are systematically exterminated and/or forcibly educated in boarding and reservation schools.
Topic: Origins of the Modern Industrial Research University and the “Civilizing” Mission of “Indian Schools”
- Consider our course question “what is a field?” from these (suppressed) dialogic points of view, Charles Eliot and the nearly contemporaneous Yankton Sioux writer and activist Zitkála-Šá, with the addition of contemporary Indigenous history and pedagogies.
- We will use the method known as “taking stack” in class today, to democratize and be mindful of everyone’s contribution.
2:00-2:20 Taking roll, opening the floor to adjustments, giving & asking for announcements, check in on everyone’s Manifold account creation, check in on everyone’s HASTAC account creation
- Getting Started (inventorying activity): index cards (5-10 minutes)
- Write out an urgent question from the week’s reading to shape our discussion
- Left side of room: focus on Charles Eliot and The New Education
- Right side of room: focus on Zitkála-Šá or the current historical and pedagogical writings by Indigenous scholars and activists.
- Please write clearly and hand your cards to the front, we’ll be alternating questions from each side of the room and “taking stack”* for discussion.
2:20-3:00 Discussion based on the cards / on the history of Index cards (see A New Education for further details).
3:00-3:30 Collaborative Annotation and discussion
- In your groups, together annotate the Manifold edition of Zitkála-Šá, “The Cutting of My Long Hair” from Zitkála-Šá (Gertrude Bonnin), American Indian Stories, Chapter Two: “The School Days of an Indian Girl” (Manifold edition);
3:30-4:00 Groups Assemble & Fill out “Group Project & Class Facilitation Check-In Slip” & Submit. Questions and feedback are welcome and encouraged!
- Excerpt from Charles Eliot’s “The New Education” Atlantic Monthly, 1869 (Skim first few pages; now how Eliot sets up the need for higher education reform against fighting in “the wilderness”).
- Cathy N. Davidson, The New Education (2017), Chapter 1: “Quarter-Life Crisis”
- Zitkála-Šá (Gertrude Bonnin), American Indian Stories, Chapter Two: “The School Days of an Indian Girl” (Manifold edition); stories published originally in Atlantic Monthly (1900) and in later collected with new stories and essays, in book form (1921)
- Illarion (Larry) Merculieff and Libby Roderick, Stop Talking: Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning and Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education pages 1-16
- Sandy Grande, Red Pedagogy, pp. 11-30 (esp p. 25/pdf p. 34; “Five Pillars of Radical Pedagogy”)
- Example of scholarship as activism: “Ethnic Studies Rise” conference, (December 2019): organized to celebrate the prize-winning work of Dr. Lorgia García Peña (turned down for tenure at Harvard after leading the Ethnic Studies Program and working to make new hires in the program, December 2019). The conference was organized mostly by junior scholars of color and part-time adjunct instructors via social media to celebrate the prize-winning work of Dr. Lorgia García Peña
bell hooks on Teaching as a Performative Act
“Teaching is a performative act. And it is that aspect of our work that offers the space for change, invention, spontaneous shifts, that can serve as a catalyst drawing out the unique elements in every classroom. To embrace the performative aspect of teaching we are compelled to engage ‘audiences,’ to consider issues of reciprocity… Just as the way we perform changes, so should our sense of ‘voice.’ In our everyday lives we speak differently to diverse audiences. We communicate best by choosing that way of speaking that is informed by the particularity and uniqueness of whom we are speaking to and with.”
Group Project & Class Facilitation Check-In Slip
Group #_____________________ | Presentation Date _________________
Assignments (reading/viewing/listening) for the class: _____________________
Class Presentation Planning:
Make sure to name clear roles for each person based on their strengths, abilities, and feasibility. Naming is important for accountability and clarity.
Format of Facilitation/ Activity: _________________________________
Participatory/Inventorying/Active Learning Exercise: __________________
Photographing/Documenting Role: ______________________________
Recapping for HASTAC.org Role: ________________________________
Posting (before the next class) to HASTAC.org Role: ___________________
Manifold Community & Collaborative Annotation Activity
For today’s active learning activity /radical pedagogy activity we will revisit Chapter Two “The School Days of an Indian Girl” in “Zitkála-Šá’s (Gertrude Bonnin), American Indian Stories. American Indian Stories is published as a digital copy on Manifold App, a digital web platform that allows for engaging and group reading practices on hosted texts. In small groups of four, we will communally annotate the text, keeping fresh in our minds the reading we have done in The New Education on Charles Eliot, the “scientific labor management” of Frederick Winslow Taylor, industrial capitalism, and the modern research university in mind. You may also consider annotating in relation to our supplementary reading “Indigenous Knowledge and Pedagogy in First Nations Education: A Literature Review with Recommendations” by Marie Battiste. Think about questions such as who is the presumed reader? From what POV is the author writing? What is explained? What is assumed to be known? What images are evoked? What diction, terminology, descriptions? What historical references assumed, shared, explained? What ideologies are assumed, by which participants? How does the genre (memoiristic fiction) contribute to the “message” of the story? How does the author convey competing ideologies/world views? What else? Feel free to include citations from recent school/sports hair cutting incidents. We will then come together and share our contributions through the discussion facilitation method taking stack.
From our class discussion on Manifold App.
Notes on Methods for our Active Learning Activity
Excerpted from https://manifoldapp.org/learn.
“The seeds for Manifold Scholarship were planted during the collaboration between the University of Minnesota Press, the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, and Cast Iron Coding to create a web edition of Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew K. Gold. In 2015, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, development began on Manifold, adapting what we learned from building the Debates prototype website into a platform that would scale for the publication of many books, and could be used by many different publishers. Recognizing that books are projects that begin long before a final manuscript is submitted to a publisher, Manifold enables authors to work with their publisher to post texts, research materials, and media from their research and writing in progress and to receive community feedback.”
“A Manifold project is iterative and expansive. A Manifold project begins with the author and their willingness to think beyond the normal confines of the traditional print strictures. Allowing for a much more expansive archive of primary sources, such as field notes, moving images, audio, interactive data and maps, photographs, interviews, and archival material, a Manifold project asks that an author think creatively about the broad set of materials that are collected in the process of researching and writing a book. A Manifold project can be iterative, showing how a book evolves in real time, drawing on the collective expertise of early readers to crystallize its core arguments. Early drafts of chapters, journal articles, and field notes can show, long before the finished book is published, the author's arguments evolving and resonating with a community of readers.”
For further questions about using Manifold App, you can reach them at https://manifoldapp.org/community.
Taking “stack” means keeping a list of people who wish to participate—offer a question or comment.
- Assign someone in the class to take stack for a given conversation. The person in this role should change each time you do the activity so the same person is not always taking stack. [Tati has kindly agreed to do this for the Feb. 13 class]
- Rather than anxiously waving your hand around and wondering if you’ll be called on, if you would like to participate, signal to the person taking stack (via a gesture, dance move, traditional hand-in-the-air, meaningful eye contact, etc.) and they will write down your name on the list.
- If projected, you can always see who is next on the list.
- Those who have not yet had a chance to speak should be bumped to the top of the list.
- For more information, on taking stack and other active learning tools, read Dr. Danica Savonick’s Afterword: Orchestrating a Student-Centered Classroom: A How-To Guide