Horizontal Pedagogy–Draft of procedues

Over the last two months we’ve experimented with different ways to teach and learn. Specifically, we set out to translate OWS “horizontal” consensus practices into classroom learning; in other words, “horizontal pedagogy.” The procedures below are what we have so far. It’s not a “method,” per se. Just a set of things that can make learning and teaching more collaborative and empowering.

As always, we invite comments, questions, concerns, objections, etc.  


Who we are, what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, what we’ve done thus far. Announcements to set expectations. Time to be hospitable and make sure the group knows more or less what’s going on, what’s going to happen, etc.


Let’s go around and say our names and something else: how you’re feeling, where you come from, how you got here, something that everyone might not know about you…


We recognize here that most forms of learning require the body be a certain way: sitting, hunched, tensed–generally still. We defend a few minutes at this time to do some kind of movement, reminding us that our bodies are here.


Whether it’s a poem, a shoe, a memory, or a system of pipes–this is a moment to examine something. At this stage the group looks at that thing and (quietly) develops thoughts, feelings, and intentions towards it. This thing can be brought beforehand or the group itself can brainstorm possible things and then vote on what to examine.


If anyone in the group has anything burning they need to say–an idea that, if everyone just knew about it, then the whole world would be better, for example–then each participant can get a certain amount of time to speak it now. The group can limit this amount of time, whether short or long, but everyone should agree how long we get each (a minute, 5 minutes, etc).


Now we spend time asking about the thing we’re examining. What don’t we know? What aren’t we sure about? What presuppositions aren’t confirmed or clear for us re: the thing we’re examining?


This is where we address the question(s) we just came up with before. This is the “beef” of the educational encounter.


Now that we’ve discussed the question(s), does anyone have any closing thoughts? Though we might not have reached a definite conclusion, but the discussion must close. Have any ideas congealed? Things you picked up along the way? Things you’ll take away?


Here, we discuss the discussion. How’d it go? What was it like? What worked? What didn’t? Also, based on what we just did, plan for next time. What will happen at the next meeting, if there will be one?

One comment

  1. Albert Binder

    I hope the courses are going well. My only concern is that, like a specific curriculum dictated by a single teacher in a class, a group can also be dictatorial. Individuals learn at different levels in different subjects. Thus, I believe learning should be a personal quest. Collaborative learning should not slow down anyones development but instead enhance everyones development. For instance, everyone learns the material on their own or in small groups. If anyone needs help they write their question and name on the chalkboard and someone who knows will help them. This may not work but with tweaking I’m sure Horizontal Pedagogy will.