This post is part of our new Countdown to Conference (C2C) series. Are you attending conference? We would love to feature a brief blog post from you too! Visit our main Countdown to Conference page for details!
C2C: My current research is my teaching and my teaching is my current research
by Dr Zoe Charalambous
My attendance at the Gender and Education Conference will immensely benefit my students by undoubtedly advancing my professional and academic development. I have been “chased after” by students in halls asking me when the “Genderisms” club will run again. Being a teacher at a private school, and in a traditional patriarchal Greek society, (though nowadays in a not so salient way), it is difficult to be granted the time and space to help bring awareness to gender issues. My attendance at the Conference will provide me with the academic possibility of an articulation of my efforts as a feminist teacher, with the support and knowledge of other feminist teachers and researchers in order to generate more collaborations and funding to keep this project going. This “teaching project” goes beyond our generation, this generation and affects all generations. Within/across and through borders of what can be generated within/across and through gender. I will be informed and further educated by attending the conference in a manner that will provide me with further “armoury” and openness to advocate for my efforts at running a feminist club in my school and at bringing awareness, even at school level. Exchanging ideas with other feminist teachers will most certainly help me develop professionally as a teacher and potentially find new, both academic and pedagogic, resources with which to continue my teaching/work/generation of “Genderisms.”
Some initial concrete goals I have set upon my return from the conference are:
a) a presentation for the faculty with regards the content I have accessed and the exchanges I have had informing them of recent approaches with regards gender and education
b) a re-submission of a proposal to conduct research with a school in London and New York designing a feminist unit of teaching in our curriculum with the goal to unite/share and create knowledge within/across and through borders,
c) a re-organization of the club Genderisms forging new connections with students from other schools in the world via classroom connections and other media, such as using our Facebook page : AC GENDERISMS (https://www.facebook.com/acgenderisms/ (run by my students).
My current research is my teaching and my teaching is my current research as I navigate a world of having to carefully “name” a club, “explain myself” as a feminist teacher in Greece and negotiate delicate borders of understanding and acceptance in my classes. I think that without knowing I have been helping generate a generation/generations of generative feminism.
My current research is my teaching and my teaching is my current research as I navigate a world of having to carefully “name” a club, “explain myself” as a feminist teacher in Greece and negotiate delicate borders of understanding and acceptance in my classes. I think that without knowing I have been helping generate a generation/generations of generative feminism. Since November 2014, I teach English Literature and language at Anatolia College high school, an International private school in Northern Greece. My pedagogic stance connects to my previous doctoral research and my feminist orientation vis-à-vis feminine creativity.
My doctoral research between 2011 and 2014 focused on the concept of a non-directive pedagogy of Creative Writing in Higher Education using a Lacanian psychosocial methodology. In a simple formulation, I was wondering how it might pedagogically affect student/writers to have their assumptions about their writing abilities questioned via in-class writing interventions. In a broader context, however, my thesis explored a way to investigate fantasies of subjectivities and their disruption (or interference with) using the whole enigmatic research project and setting – as an intervention inherent in the investigation, aimed at disrupting or shifting fantasmatic attachments. This constitutes an approach to exploring fantasy that has not, as far as I am aware, been used in other psychosocial projects. Parts of the analysis used Bracha Ettinger’s theory of the matrixial object to begin to conceptualize moments in the creative process where a shift of fantasy – a shift in the way a student/writer would write- occurred. Thus, metaphorically, my w(a)ndering began from an interest in the phallus/discourse to be born again in the primordial space of womb: a wondering for what (my) desire is…
Having explored a non-directive pedagogy at Higher Level Education during my PhD research I have been very keen to consider how such an approach might work at a secondary education level and what it might mean to facilitate discussions that shift students’ assumptions about their learning. I have found, both via my daily teaching experience and from student feedback, that ambiguity in providing answers at the age of 16 is not well-received. It makes teenagers much more uncomfortable than adults. On the other hand, it has been this very “faith” in ambiguity and enigmatic facilitation that helped initiate the beginnings of a club called “Genderisms” at Anatolia College. The club has ran for two years in an attempt to generate awareness about gender issues in multiple ways: research gender attitudes via questionnaires and interviews (student-led), educating students about sociological research methods and discussions/explorations of key texts in the feminist field. My teaching integrates and embodies the above approaches in one of the English Literature thematic units I have created. My contribution at the conference would be key in generating an impetus at my school and in Northern Greece to help me address this research more officially.
Finally, starting from this year I began to help organize the annual TeAch conference, a conference for teachers which runs at Anatolia every year. I am currently working on the call for proposals, which will include the issue of gender in education in the broader theme of “Education for Active Citizenship.”
If you are attending conference, let us know on Twitter using the hashtag: #GEAconf2017