When Jessie Stommel tweeted “Start by trusting students. #4wordpedagogy” and invited others to join in making four-word pedagogy statements, he began an unexpected worldwide conversation. More than 4,500 tweets followed, with humorous, provoking, and critical comments on education today. The Twitter conversation Jessie started shows Twitter at its best, as a tool to begin honest conversation and innovation among many.
Many of the tweets are applicable to those who teach writing, though not so specific as to only apply to them. Most of the tweets challenge teachers to rethink the way they approach students:
By seeing the humanity of students and the collaborative nature of teaching, teachers are prepared to work with students, not against them; to see students as fellow workers in meaning-making. Still, teachers must acknowledge that they are for students by showing it in words or actions:
The move to acknowledge and show that students matters moves teachers to humility, and makes them able to learn alongside students. In the writing classroom, this can look like writing alongside students, such that teachers can empathize with and build camaraderie with their fellow writers, who also happen to be students. Many who responded to Jessie’s invitation acknowledged that this is just where teachers should be:
Nevertheless, this working together can get messy, and others who responded pushed educators to allow students freedom in the messy process of learning:
Others proposed that these messy approaches should be student-centered and experimental:
There’s a beauty to Jessie’s challenge to write a four word pedagogy: it forces educators to zero-in on the core of their pedagogy. As you reflect on the semester past, what are ways that your course adhered to your core pedagogy? What are ways that it got a little off course? Try writing your own #4wordpedagogy, as a way of focusing in on what matters most, then use it to re-evaluate how to move forward in your teaching. We’d love to know what you come up with; comment below or tweet us @writingcampus.
To read Jesse’s full article, visit: https://storify.com/Jessifer/4wordpedagogy