Becoming in the classroom is tricky. Dialogue goes on in the classroom, the mind listens and absorbs the information as thoroughly as possible, and the student becomes who they are after the class. Pedagogy is run by teachers with an end goal. Is that end goal good? Is it bad? It changes all the time. It depends on the teacher’s own choices on how they run their class.
Kindness as an approach to pedagogy is a big theme in most teachers’ philosophies. It has been growing in reliance for the past couple of years. Catherine Denial exemplifies this sort of pedagogical approach in A Pedagogy of Kindness. She demonstrates an intelligent growth from her past discompassionate teaching methods to her present mindful empathy towards her students. In this entry she presents her journey in sharing a mutual dialogue with her students on how to help them perform well in class. She makes kindness a big necessity in helping her students learn, making their mental well-being come first before making sure that they don’t commit academic dishonesty.
I believe that kindness is important in the classroom. Kindness is more than simply being nice, simply acting pleasant for the sake of being agreeable. Kindness involves fostering an environment where students feel safe and secure enough to confide in teachers. Kindness requires building course activities that students can reasonably do without forcing them to spend every waking hour of their days reading endlessly just to find that their out of time to properly do their work. Kindness involves not mocking students and shaming them when they fail to perform as well as they were expected to.
Kindness involves compassion, and most courses are not designed around compassion. Courses are where students go to lose any love they had for their passions because courses are not designed to foster passion and motivation. Courses are designed to force students to abandon all psychological needs and emotional regulations in order to reach pointless quotas. Courses are where students are expected to learn, but they fail horribly because they have to complete all the work without failure, manage their time properly and complete multiple things at about the same time, and are more likely than not expected to confide in teachers who will not properly aid them in what they need help with.
Most courses last less than five months, but students are expected to absorb and understand a great amount of information in all that time. Reading, writing, reports, papers, synopsis papers, teachers assign all of these to students throughout less than five months and expect students to have the time to properly work on them. With compassion, teachers would tell students exactly what they need to do and exactly how to do them, and they would check in with students and help them understand how to perform all of these things.
Students cannot practice patience in their own work efficiency if teachers won’t practice patience with their own students. Teaching should be about motivating students to properly learn and apply the things they learn while breaking down the norms that prevent this from happening. Hybrid Pedagogy article Love in the Time of Peer Review describes writing as a process that should be painful. But why should something as vital to pedagogy as writing be painful? Difficult, yes. Frustrating sometimes, understandable. Needing to be revised and altered dozens of times, absolutely. But painful? I can’t get past that. I can understand that with writing, writers should be vulnerable and open themselves up to failure and the regrets and disappointments that come with that. It’s when this process becomes painful that we should be wondering why. Is it because a painful writing process comes from inevitable roadblocks in the long run to pedagogical success? Or is it because that pain is caused by harmful structures that make it nearly impossible for students to properly improve in their writing?
If writing is supposed to be a painful process, then how do teachers prepare students to deal with that pain? How should students be guided in confronting the painful roadblocks in learning if teachers just treat them as simply unavoidable and a normal part of the process?