10 SES 14 E, Being Uncomfortable and Embodied Learning
The contribution arises from the research project APREN-DO: How teachers learn: Educational implications and challenges to face the social change (EDU2015-70912-C2-1-R) where teachers were invited to generate visual cartographies of those scenarios inside and outside school where they learn, and to think about what they value as a source of knowledge and experience. Through this process we generate forms of understanding their nomadic learning displacements (Braidotti, 2006, 2014), their tensions and expectations. Visual cartography is understood as a creative and artistic narrative epistemology and research methodology that allows to explore interstices, displacements, instable journeys, ways of knowing, assemblages and entanglement through which teachers perform their learning paths (Paulston & Liebman, 1994; Ruitenberg, 2007; Ulmer, & Koro-Ljungberg, 2015)
This research process generates openings from, at least, three key notions: affect (learning as a process that affects to the subject); post-qualitative drifts (how access these ‘places’ of learning, beyond those frameworks pre- established in research, which are defined in terms of processes and rhizomatic relations (Jackson & Mazzei, 2009, p. 2); and cartographies (not just an elicitation visual method but an entanglement in which all these substances –bodies and things, texts and situations, ideas and manners of doing, etc., remain assembled, an also a challenge we brought to the teachers). From these three key ideas we will try to articulate this paper about the embodied learning of teachers, understanding the body from the perspective of New Materialism, not as a social construction that only depends of human forces, but as an experience, a zone of undecidability, indeterminacy, connections, movements and relations (Barad, 2012; Grosz, 1994, 2004; Rogowska-Stangret, 2017).
This understanding of the body or what Grosz calls corpor(e)ality shifts body to its elsewhere- inhuman, more than human, beyond human and concentrates the zones of proximity between the body and the world. As such, this body is central to the New Materialist cartographies (Rogowska-Stangret, 2017) because it is on line with the dynamic, agential, self-reflexive, anti-oppositional character of New Materialism (Hinton and Liu, 2015).
The body in the social sciences has historically been understood as a social construction that does not come in a natural way, but it is culturally framed by political and historical moment and participates in our social life expand its further the physical and organic limits (Bourdieu, 1988; Le Breton, 2002; Mauss, 1979; Merleau-Ponty, 1973; Turner, 1994, among others). We are not against that position, but this kind of understanding of the body leaves aside its multiple attributes and forget its materiality within this performative and movable articulation between human, non-human, more than human, matter and physical spaces.
The research was carried on three secondary schools from the area of Barcelona with 29 voluntary secondary school teachers. A group of researchers interacted and helped them build their cartographies. The fieldwork was understood as a possibility of encounter and not as a "place" where to collect data, it was carried out in two moments: (1) During November and December 2016, we went to three secondary schools around Barcelona, where we met with 8-12 teachers. They were asked to think on their learning by capturing and relating three issues previously proposed by us: the learning places; their moves between the inside and the outside of the institution; and the sense they made of the very act of learning. After that, our role as researchers was limited to accompanying one or two teachers and energizing -but never judging- the making of the cartography. Furthermore, they all explained afterwards what they had done and why in front of their cartographies. This was recorded. (2) Between May and June 2017, we returned to the schools to share what the cartographies and videos had helped us to think about learning and our encounter. We had individual conversations about their statements in front of their cartographies and we shared and reflected on our dialogues and thoughts on their cartographies, on what they had allowed us to think and the relations and entanglements we made. Instead of applying a previous method to scrutinize them, our stand on the cartographies contents departed from the acknowledgement and the potentiality of "not-knowing" [Rogoff, 2006). Thus, we were looking for a new kind of object of inquiry, "pulled out of shape by its framings" and, equally importantly, "framings pulled out of shape by the object" [Lather 2013: 639]. To this end, the cartographies, the accounts teachers gave of them and our field notes were put together to produce an emerging conversation. Rather than meaning, this allowed us to open up to "unexpected readings of and listening to materials in what might be termed "fractal analysis" (Lather, 2016: 127). In this process we do not attempt to analyse the cartographies, but rather how the post qualitative approach allows us to move through them and identify which concepts emerge in relation to both, learning and body. In this endeavor, diverse concepts emerged from narratives and cartographies: affections/shock/emotion, displacement, experience, corporeality/corporal availability, materiality/spatiality, movement, the other's body, performativity/performance.
Teachers involved in the project conceive the body as an important feature in their learning experiences. It is always present even they when they hide it, make it invisible and consider their passivity. But it is not a body that acts isolated and by itself within an idealized constitution of what means being a teacher, but a body that points out an entanglement of relationships "among all those elements that are part of their learning process, such as matter, spatiality, architecture, geography, the human, self-knowledge, movement, affect, among others. A body that activates and is activated by the notion of intra-action. Thus, the space of learning is a notion that expands and is crossed by the body, affections and experience. As Spinoza proposes, the body is understood as its capacity to affect and be affected, where this affection refers not only to emotion but also to the movements of the body (Camps, 2011; Rivera de Rosales, 2011;). 'Real learning' (Atkinson, 2012) actives displacements and an affective "shock" (Spinoza) that is embodied teachers and affects them. Andrea, shows how the affective shock operates by saying: "The last email I received from a freshman ESO student is a ¡I love you very much! That for me was like a brutal shock, because I've never had such a real and pure feedback (...)". This notion of corporeality is expanded for all the spheres of teachers' learning experience as we have noticed in this research. Therefore, embodied learning not only understands the space of learning as something that is not reduced to formal contexts and/or institutional places, but also performative and activates intra-action. In addition, emotion and affection act as the main driving force of learning.
Atkinson, D, (2012). Contemporary Art in Education: The New, Emancipation and Truth." The International Journal of Art & Design Education, 31 (1), 5-18. Barad, K. (2012). Thinking with intra-action. In A. Y. Jackson and L. A. Mazzei (Eds.), Thinking with theory in qualitative research. Viewing data across multiple perspectives (pp.118-136). New York, USA: Routledge. Braidotti, R (2006). Transpositions. On Nomadic Ethics. Cambridge: Polity Press. Braidotti, R. (2014). Writing as a Nomadic Subject. "Comparative Critical Studies II, 2-3, 163-184 Bourdieu, P. (1988). Espacio social y Poder simbólico [Social space and symbolic power]. In Cosas dichas. (pp.127-142). Madrid: Gedisa. Camps, V. (2011). Spinoza: La fuerza de los afectos [The force of affection]. In El gobierno de las emociones. (pp.65-87). Barcelona: Herder. Grosz, E. (1994). Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Grosz, E. (2004). The Nick of time: Politics, Evolution, and the Untimely. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Hinton, P. and Liu, X. (2015). The im/possibility of abandonment in New Materialist Ontologies. Australian Feminist Studies, 30(84), 128-145. Lather, P. (2013). Methodology-21: what do we do in the afterward?" International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 26 (6), 634-657. Lather, P. (2016). Top Ten+ List: (Re)Thinking Ontology in (Post)Qualitative Research. Cultural Studies Critical Methodologies 16 (2), 125-131. Jackson, A. Y., and Mazzei, L. (2009). Voice in Qualitative Inquiry: Challenging Conventional, interpretive, and Critical Conceptions in Qualitative Research. London and New York: Routledge. Le Breton, D. (2002). Sociología del cuerpo. Buenos Aires: Nueva visión. Mauss, M. (1979). Sociología y antropología. Madrid: Tecnos. Merleau-Ponty, M. (1973). Lo visible y lo invisible. Madrid: Taurus. Paulston, R. G. & Liebman, M. (1994). An Invitation to Postmodern Social Cartography. Comparative Education Review, 38 (2), 215-232. Rivera de Rosales, J. (2011). Spinoza y los afectos. Exit Book: revista de libros de arte y cultura visual, 15, 38-49. Rogoff, I. (2006). Academy as Potentiality. www.zehar.net 60/61, 4-9, 2006. Rogowska-Stangret, M. (2017). Corpor(e)al Cartographies of New Materialism: Meeting the Elsewhere Halfway. The Minnesota Review, 2017(88), 59-68. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00265667-3787390 Ruitenberg, C. (2007). Here Be Dragons: Exploring Cartography in Educational Theory and Research. Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education 4 (1), 7-24. Turner, B. (1994). Avances recientes en la teoría del cuerpo. REIS-Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas, 68, 11-39. Ulmer, J. B. & Koro-Ljungberg, M. (2015). Writing Visually through (Methodological) Events and Cartography. Qualitative Inquiry 21 (2), 138-152
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