June 22, 2003
June 22, 2003
June 25, 2003
8.918.1 - 8.918.16
Pedagogies of Liberation in an Engineering Thermodynamics Class
Donna Riley Assistant Professor Picker Engineering Program, Smith College Northampton, MA 01063
Pedagogies of liberation, including feminist and critical pedagogies based on the works of bell hooks*, Paulo Freire and others, were employed in teaching Engineering Thermodynamics with two classes of women at Smith College. Aspects of course development, assignments, and classroom dynamics are discussed, including connecting course material to student experience, emphasizing students as authorities in the classroom, integrating ethics and policy considerations, problematizing science as objectivity, and de-centering western (and male) civilization. Appropriate assessment methods for this type of course are presented with results from the first two classes, pointing to areas for further development. Critiques and limitations of the use of liberative pedagogies in engineering education are discussed, as well as the potential for these methods to address the needs of all students while increasing the accessibility and attractiveness of engineering for underrepresented groups. 1. 2.
For many years, efforts toward increasing the participation of traditionally underrepresented groups in engineering have not placed sufficient emphasis on pedagogy or curriculum as avenues for reform, despite repeated calls to do so. Davis and Rosser1 note that when institutions undertake curricular reform, they rarely consider the gender impacts of their efforts, let alone fully integrate curricular reform with strategies to establish gender equity. The current mindset is that improving engineering education in mainstream ways, without considering gender or race, will help all students – “the rising tide raises all boats.” Thus, reforms - such as establishing relevance of course material - are often done only from a white male perspective, and may or may not have relevance for white women and people of color. Rosser 2 notes that when reforms are implemented after ties to ethnic or women’s studies have been severed, the helpful aspects of the reforms for students of color and white women are often lost.
* The name bell hooks is a writing voice the scholar, whose real name is Gloria Watkins, uses in order to remind readers that she is a holistic self who embodies more than just her words. She does not capitalize the name (Bell Hooks is actually her great-grandmother’s name) in order to emphasize the importance of what she says over who said it. For the sake of accuracy and out of respect, bell hooks is not capitalized here.
Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education
Riley, D. (2003, June), Pedagogies Of Liberation In An Engineering Thermodynamics Class Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. https://peer.asee.org/11854
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