27 SES 07 B, Learning Experience, Critical Thinking and Literacy
The aim of this paper is to explore, both empirically and theoretically and with inspiration in Deleuzes & Guattaris (1994, 2004) philosophy, how the future and the not-yet-seen can be used methodologically and in a didactical context as a source of what is commonly referred to as critical thinking. In this, the future, or the not-yet-seen/said/thought, rather contains a geographical than a temporal aspect, escaping the linear and progressive image of time which is assigned with the modernity and thus, as Usher & Edwards (1994) argues, also the school as a modern project. In ‘traditional’ progressive pedagogy, like for example those associated with John Dewey (2004, 1991) and Paulo Freire (1972), departure in the pedagogical situation should be taken in the pupils’ own experiences which give precedence to the past and the already existing knowledge. With inspiration in Deleuze, and Deleuze & Guattari, this paper aims to show how a pedagogical and a methodological situation can take departure in an opposite position, namely in the not yet seen/said/thought, especially in relation to the process of subjectification and the construction of something ‘new’ (Deleuze & Guattari 1994). The following research question has been a source of navigation, based on the assumption that the methodology and the didactical relation corresponds:
How can the figure of the not-yet-seen be used in a methodological context?
How does the not-yet-seen as a didactical tool construct the subjects in relation to the production of the ‘new’?
The school can, according to Biesta (2006) and Usher & Edwards (1994), be seen as a modern project, based on an idea of constant progress and on the human as a stable, coherent, and autonomous subject. However, this image can be contested, and in this paper, departure is taken in two figures which respectively contain both features of modernity and of the progressive education which partly challenge modernity as such, namely: critical thinking and the concept of experience. These two concepts will be described and contested in the following, aiming to highlight which aspects in these can be useful in relation to a Deleuzian thinking and to the not-yet-seen.
As a reaction against the prevalent school system in the end of the 1900th, which preferentially emanated from the mere content of education, the progressive philosopher John Dewey emphasized the importance of starting the didactical relation in something as subjective as the experience. This is exemplified with the commonly quoted phrase by Dewey: “You teach a child, not a subject” (Dewey in Säljö 2010:176). When taking departure in the experience of the pupil instead of overall objectives, the learning environment improves, being beneficial both for the individual and the society. Without doubt, this was a radical statement in the beginning of the last century, but some decades later, the thoughts was at least partly implemented in for example the Swedish school (see ex. Englund 1986). By emphasizing the importance of the experience, the past is obviously an attendant factor which is hinting more in a conservative direction. How does this match with the progressive aspects associated with Dewey then, and with the outspoken aim for an education with the possibility to change society? As noted before, the emphasis on the experience of the pupils was radical, but in this, Dewey also highlighted the dimensions of the unknown future. The act of thinking, according to Dewey, appears in the tension between the past and the future, or rather; between the experienced and the not yet seen (1991:66). This makes what is beyond experience important in a pedagogical situation.
Dewey, J. (1991). How we think. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. Dewey, J. (1999). Demokrati och utbildning. Göteborg: Daidalos. Dewey, J. (2004). Democracy and education. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Englund, T. (1986). Curriculum as a political problem: changing educational conceptions, with special reference to citizenship education. Diss. Uppsala : Univ.. Lund. Freire, P. (1972). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Biesta, G. (2006). Bortom lärandet: demokratisk utbildning för en mänsklig framtid. Lund: Studentlitteratur Krueger, R.A. & Casey, M.A. (2009). Focus groups: a practical guide for applied research. (4. [updated] ed.) Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications. Säljö, R. (2010) Den lärande mäniskan – teoretiska traditioner. In: (edi.U.P. Lundgren, R. Säljö, C. Liberg) Lärande, skola, bildning. Stockholm: Natur & Kultur. Mazzei, L. & McCoy, K. (2010): Thinking with Deleuze in qualitative research, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 23:5, 503-509 Mazzei, L. (2013) A voice without organs: interviewing in posthumanist research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 26:6, 732-740 Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. (1994). What is philosophy?. London: Verso. Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. (2004). A thousand plateaus: capitalism and schizophrenia. London: Continuum. Walters, K. S. (1994) Introduction: Beyond Logocism in Critical Thinking. I: (red.) Walters, K.S. Re-Thinking Reason. New Perspectives in Critical Thinking. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press. 1-22 Mulnix, J.W. (2012) Thinking Critically about Critical Thinking. Educational Philosophy and Theory. Vol. 44, No. 5. 464-479. Tittle, P. (2010). Critical thinking: an appeal to reason. New York: Routledge.
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