ERIC Number: ED463514
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Mar
Friendly Persuasion: Quaker Pedagogy in a Composition Classroom.
Peter Palmer's book "The Courage to Teach" sparked an interest in Quaker pedagogy in recent years. This paper sketches some ways in which Quaker principles inform what one educator does in his community college composition classes. The paper briefly describes the origins of Quakerism in the language of educators. It states that Quaker practice is not an authority-centered, instruction-based transmission of doctrine but rather a dialogic encounter, a mutual grappling with questions, a subtle blend of self-directed and peer-assisted cooperative learning. According to the paper, to run a class as a Meeting for Learning calls for a radical democratization of the classroom, a dismantling of classroom hierarchies, a decentralizing of control, as teachers learn to have power "with" their students rather than power "over" them. The paper finds that in a traditional composition class, the teacher maintains the locus of control in four areas: assigner of topics for composition; writer of formative comments on drafts; determiner of quality standards; and evaluator of how well students' final drafts meet those standards. The paper states that under Quaker pedagogy students are allowed much freedom to choose their topics--but a course must involve some sort of trajectory and unfold in some way. It explains that the first assignment in a sequence calls for a personal narrative exploring some time of internal struggle in the student's life, while the second movement in the trajectory involves some observing and reporting upon a place where people struggle in some way; the third movement is an immersion in a broader struggle, and the fourth movement is from "that" to "there." (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A