Freeing the Female Voice: Pedagogical and Methodological Changes in One Teacher’s Story

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


This paper will trace the stages and causes for my evolving pedagogy and the resulting changes in the content and methodology in the curriculum I teach. Being trained within the bounds of a patriarchal framework and traditional Anglo-American canon, I came to teaching believing that critical thinking and critical writing were the measure of true knowledge. The first challenge to my initial pedagogy came from the voices of my students who were not as fully engaged in the learning process as I or they wanted them to be. Pointing to my methodology as an inhibitor to learning, the students’ feedback called for my respect for subjective and constructed knowledge as well as for my grounding procedural knowledge in a context broader than the limits of the definitions of valid knowing that exalted objectivity and the rigors of traditional academic forms of expression. The evolution of my methodology, pedagogy and curriculum design have been gradual and continuous. The introduction to Carol Gilligan’s In a Different Voice provided the language and development that I had already recognized in my students’ voices over the years. Reading this work led to a pedagogical epiphany that my working must be about “freeing the voice” of my students. The methodological and curriculum changes that I have made have risen from my belief that empowering my students and “freeing the voice” are integral and imperative to learning.


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