I was at one time a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I loved the classes and the seminars. When it came time to actually write a dissertation I wasn’t really interested in doing that.
If I had continued at the work, I would have focused on how teachers use – should use – the experience of their own lives to give meaning to the curriculum that they teach.
I jokingly called this idea the Fred-centered curriculum.
I was at my best when I taught the things that excited me. If it excited me, then that excitement (I hoped) would be contagious.
There are all kinds of problems inherent in the Fred-centered curriculum. I was blessed to have a diverse cohort of doctoral students who were quick to share those problems with me.
After all, my own experiences are narrowly shaped by race, class, gender and age. The members of my cohort reminded me that using only my own experience is limiting. They called for teaching that demanded constant reflection and openness to criticism of what Fred-centered meant.
“That could be dangerous,” I thought.