Collaboration – In-Class Activities section of the the Pedagogy Project (Hastac)

A core premise of the collaborative pedagogy is for the instructor to function as “less of a ‘master explicator” and more as a facilitator” therefore leading to the potential dilemma of crafting pedagogy that is both student-centered and participatory while maintaining critical analysis and academic rigor.  The Pedagogy Project of HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) provides crowd-sourced resources for educators seeking to develop syllabi, lesson plans and assignments.  I reviewed the section on In-Class activities which corresponded to my interest in incorporating participatory learning tools into undergraduate and certificate labor studies programs.  The majority of the students in these courses are working adults and many are members, staff and leaders of workers organizations accustomed to popular-education techniques utilized within skill-training and leadership development workshops.  What sorts of in-class activities can best foster bigger-picture critical engagement and discussion within an academic classroom setting – tools that can work both in the academy and reach greater numbers if incorporated into worker education outside the academy?

Module #6 on “Game Pedagogy for Teaching Marx’s Capital” piqued my interest.  The game is played in two parts – the first to simulate C-M-C in which payers exchange commodities and the second based upon M-C-M as an exercise in capital accumulation.  If gaming can be used to demystify Capital, certainly models can be also found to ground discussions of precarity, globalization, historical precedents for organizing without the New Deal labor rights framework and other strategic dilemmas confronted by workers and workers organizations.  As noted in the module discussion, these participatory tools only facilitate a limited examination of complex issues – they draw students in making them more engaged participants as a basis for higher-level discussion, not as a substitute for the instructor but enhancing the teaching and learning prospects of classroom interaction.  The inclusion of the In-Class activities provides a vehicle for collaboration towards strengthening and refining individual modules but also for expanding their reach as educators adapt them to their own classroom context.

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