- Feminist Pedagogy:Reformation of Power between Professor and Counseling Student
Counselor educators have been tasked with providing educational opportunities that reflect the needs of all students (Arredondo et al. 42). Extant literature has suggested that traditional teaching methods do not reflect the current needs of multicultural students (Arthur and Achenbach 2). Feminist pedagogy works to reform pedagogical traditions to create a co-constructed educational experience that invites people from all backgrounds to learn and grow (hooks 66). Feminist pedagogy is grounded in Paulo Frèire's critical theories of learning and teaching (Hoffmann and Stake 79), with one of the differences between traditional and critical pedagogies being the equalizing of power in the classroom. A genuine example of a master's-level counselor education course constructed through a feminist pedagogical lens will be examined through the experiences of the educator and two master's students who completed the course. We found that this particular configuration regarding co-authorship both paralleled and reflected the reformation of the power dynamics evident within feminist pedagogy. It is important to clarify that a course taught through feminist pedagogy is not about feminism; rather it utilizes educational techniques created and refined through a feminist lens. Although the outlined course is not about feminist ideals, the reformation of power evident toward efforts to eradicate domestic violence is akin to the reformation of power necessary to create a truly feminist pedagogical classroom.
Feminist pedagogy encompasses more than a focus on gender (Manicom 365). Central to its core is the challenge to the foundations of knowledge and ways of knowing (Manicom 365). Feminist pedagogy goes beyond a set of methods in that it "necessitates not only the development of new knowledge, but also new forms of relationships between people" (Schniedewind and Davidson 262). These relationships are among people within the classroom and also with greater communities and the world. Six principles of feminist pedagogy were synthesized from the literature and incorporated into a domestic violence (DV) counseling course developed and taught by the first author, Kirsten LaMantia (Maher and Tetreault; Webb, Allen, and Walker 67). The fourth author, Tarah Crosser, and fifth author, Amanda Bland, were two students from [End Page 66] the course who provide first-person perceptions of their experience along with examples of some of the critical and defining moments that impacted their learning and their perception of education. The participants in this article's creation were recruited by an open call to students to engage in research following completion of the domestic violence counseling class. After discussion about utilizing participant stories as a means to writing this article, the authors chose to give ownership of the paper to the students, rather than write about them from a detached and unfeminist manner. Through delineation of workload, the author order was created.
Feminist Principles, Professor's Plan, and Student Perceptions
As a part of my doctoral program requirements, I (LaMantia) chose to conduct my teaching practicum in the form of an eight-week, one-credit master's elective course on domestic violence counseling. I was working as a counselor for adult victims and child witnesses of domestic violence and I saw an opportunity for master's students to become better acquainted with the intricacies of power and control, victim and perpetrator counseling, and the needs of children who have experienced trauma. The class occurred during the spring semester of 2014. Twelve students were enrolled, ranging from second semester to graduating students. I chose to conceptualize the course entirely through feminist pedagogical theory.
I (Crosser) was a student in LaMantia's course. I was eager to learn about domestic violence (DV) to increase my knowledge about the topic and learn ways to provide meaningful services for my future clients. I had interacted with feminist ideology not only in my professional roles but also through my mom's experience as a single, educated woman who needed opportunities as much as anyone else. I thought feminist ideology was simply an expectation that I be treated equally everywhere, but I had not considered that that expectation extended into the classroom.
We find learning and...