An Urgency of Teachers: the Work of Critical Digital Pedagogy, by Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel
Critical Digital Pedagogy's Application to Hikikomori (Japanese social isolates)

"Teaching to Transgress" and "An Urgency of Teachers": The Individual and the Institutional Application of Critical Digital Pedagogy

I now see the value of first reading Teaching to Transgress before we came to An Urgency of Teachers. bell hooks’ journey is a private one (noted here). Her book reads as a memoir of her coming to theory as she made her way in the world of academia and beyond. For me, it was a good introduction to Critical Digital Pedagogy. Her journey became my journey

An Urgency of Teachers touches on the same material. But it provides a more comprehensive look at the topic. It addresses all its stakeholders - teachers, students, administrators, governments, and corporations. Doing so, it provides a glimpse at the immensity, not to mention the duration, of the project. Indeed, there is much work to do. But there is hope. In The Significance of Theory (cited here), Terry Eagleton notes the light at the end of the tunnel. The need for Critical Digital Pedagogy dissolves when it has nothing more to restore. When it doesn't have to ask itself, What’s the matter here?

hooks’ book implies what it means to be human; An Urgency of Teachers states it. It discusses the concept of slipperiness (This is the first time I’ve ever heard the word used as a virtue). Critical digital pedagogy is slippery for two reasons. It claims relevance within classroom walls. And its relevance extends (slips) beyond into the complicated practice of being human. Slipperiness makes Critical Digital Pedagogy an effective teaching tool. It also offers a way to look at a world foregrounded in technology. In other words, its application is manifold.

Pieces are fitting into place. An Urgency of Teachers features words designed to pose questions. We can find a correlation with hooks and Eagleton. They believe that that the best way to effect change is to revert to the questioning mode of a child. To use words designed to do work in the world. As hooks notes, theory is useless unless it’s accompanied by praxis. The same points reiterated in different places reinforces the salience of our reading.

I’m a big fan of collective nouns. They are witty; they are memorable; and, characteristic-wise, they are spot-on. (Please indulge me for citing some here):

  • Apes: a shrewdness
  • Badgers: a cete
  • Bats: a colony, cloud or camp
  • Bears: a sloth or sleuth
  • Bees: a swarm
  • Buffalo: a gang or obstinacy
  • Camels: a caravan
  • Cats: a clowder or glaring; Kittens: a litter or kindle; Wild cats: a destruction
  • Cobras: a quiver
  • Crocodiles: a bask
  • Crows: a murder
  • Dogs: a pack; Puppies: a litter
  • Donkeys: a drove
  • Eagles: a convocation
  • Elephants: a parade
  • Elk: a gang or a herd
  • Falcons: a cast
  • Ferrets: a business
  • Fish: a school
  • Flamingos: a stand
  • Foxes: a skulk or leash
  • Frogs: an army
  • Geese: a gaggle
  • Giraffes: a tower
  • Gorillas: a band
  • Hippopotami: a bloat
  • Hyenas: a cackle
  • Jaguars: a shadow
  • Jellyfish: a smack
  • Kangaroos: a troop or mob
  • Lemurs: a conspiracy
  • Leopards: a leap
  • Lions: a pride
  • Moles: a labor
  • Monkeys: a barrel or troop
  • Mules: a pack
  • Otters: a family
  • Oxen: a team or yoke
  • Owls: a parliament
  • Parrots: a pandemonium
  • Pigs: a drift or drove (younger pigs), or a sounder or team (older pigs)
  • Porcupines: a prickle
  • Rabbits: a herd
  • Rats: a colony
  • Ravens: an unkindness
  • Rhinoceroses: a crash
  • Shark: a shiver
  • Skunk: a stench
  • Snakes: a nest
  • Squirrels: a dray or scurry
  • Stingrays: a fever
  • Swans: a bevy or game (if in flight: a wedge)
  • Tigers: an ambush or streak
  • Toads: a knot
  • Turkeys: a gang or rafter
  • Turtles: a bale or nest
  • Weasels: a colony, gang or pack
  • Whales: a pod, school, or gam
  • Wolves: a pack
  • Zebras: a zeal

Consider what we’re doing here. The imperative work we do to impact the heart and mind by an education that is concerned with the human. Doesn’t this effort merit its own collective noun? An Urgency of Teachers, indeed!


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