Women’s proper place and student-centered pedagogy
Student-centered pedagogy has been embraced by many feminist practitioners and educational theorists as an antidote to more “traditional” or “masculinist” forms of classroom relations, epistemological constructs, and theories of self. I will show that the margin-center schema, student-centered pedagogy’s foundational metaphor, undermines feminist projects when applied to teacher-student relations. Although the margin-center schema has been a useful diagnostic tool in feminist theory, it operates prescriptively in student-centered pedagogy. Student-centered pedagogy designates teachers’ “proper place” at the margins of classroom life, a place that echoes bygone visions of domestic femininity. This paper is simultaneously a critique of student-centered pedagogy and a recuperative project to dislodge the work of John Dewey from the teacher-centered/student-centered binary.