Friday, April 24, 2020, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Campus Center, Multipurpose Room
IWT April Conference
Freire’s emphasis on the co-creation of knowledge by students and teachers resonates deeply with the goals of IWT’s writing-based teaching practices—to build a space where all learners have a voice and a desire to contribute to the larger conversation that is education. Writing-based teaching, just like problem-posing education, begins with the question itself. Every teacher who has struggled to create a good question appreciates the skill this requires. How do we craft questions that foster inquiry and genuine problem-solving? How do we empower students to generate their own questions, ones that they care deeply about? Freire believed that people are authentic beings “only when engaged in inquiry and creative transformation.” How can we use writing—within ambitious curriculums and syllabi, full lesson plans, and ever-present assessment requirements—to generate engagement with meaningful problems?
For Freire this challenge was not only pedagogical but political: “Students, as they are increasingly posed with problems relating to themselves in the world and with the world, will feel increasingly challenged and obliged to respond to that challenge. ...Their response to the challenge evokes new challenges, followed by new understandings; and gradually the students come to regard themselves as committed.” We will look to IWT’s writing-based teaching practices to investigate these ideas from theoretical and practical standpoints. Together, we will write to imagine how a problem-posing approach might transform our classrooms and how writing can help create a democratic learning space.