My journey as a student, teaching assistant, and program coordinator of The Girlhood Project has been guided by the implementation of feminist pedagogy, feminist group processing, and relational-cultural theory. Looking back on my experiences in traditional classroom settings, I never felt supported by my classmates or teachers. Consequently, this made me feel unintelligent and unworthy of any future academic success. It was not until I was exposed to feminist pedagogical framework as a tool for constructing knowledge that my inner judgments began to shift towards a more positive sense of self.
My growth as an emerging girlhood scholar has been forged through relational development between myself and my classmates, myself and the middle and high school girls, and myself with the professor and fellow teaching, graduate, and research assistants. In my teaching assistant application, I wrote,
While yes, I have read and written about feminism, and participated in activist programs, I have never experienced the camaraderie that exists when using a feminist framework. I was truly amazed by how much we covered with the girls and how quickly our group turned into a safe and comfortable space. I attribute all of this towards co construction and feminist pedagogy. (2014).
I was and still am astounded by the feats achieved by democratic and co-constructive learning not only for personal development but for girls’ group as a whole. As I mention in my application, it is amazing how quickly college students were able to form substantial and deep relationships with middle school girls in less than two months. This feat could not have been accomplished with traditional banking methods of epistemology.
Feminist pedagogy, in collaboration with hip-hop feminism, shifts the field of girls’ studies and girls’ to a more intersectional and more inherently feminist collaboration. Ruth Nicole Brown speaks about celebrating girlhood. When combined with feminist pedagogy, we seek to celebrate girlhood in every group session. We ask the question, “what did we do to celebrate girlhood today?” This practice has transcended from girls’ group and into my personal growth.