Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Positionality as Knowledge: From Pedagogy to Praxis

Sara Maria Acevedo, Michael Aho, Eri Cela, Juei-Chen Chao, Isabel Garcia-Gonzales, Alec MacLeod, Claudia Moutray, Christina Olague

Abstract: In this article, the authors will draw from their work in the Integral Teaching Fellowship Program at CIIS, and from their interactive session in the 2014 CIIS Founders Symposium on Integral Consciousness to better understand the epistemological relevance of positionality in integral education and critical pedagogy. A critical approach to pedagogy (drawing from theorists such as Paulo Freire and bell hooks) encourages students and educators alike to recognize their social positionings and reflect on how the institutionalization of their social identities (such as the expert, the genius, the marginalized, the disabled) not only inform the lenses through which they view the classroom, but also influence how they participate in the classroom. By employing an integral learning model (variety of modalities), a learning community is transformed into a dynamic positioning field, in which students and educators interact and co-create knowledge beyond their habitual or institutionally imposed positionings. Supported by our own experiences as integral educators in training, we conclude that developing critical reflection, including previously subjugated perspectives, and gaining the ability to reposition oneself maximizes learning opportunities.

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