plurality of pedagogical postures

just as we have come to understand the plurality of literacies, i've begun to appreciate the nuanced and multiple nature of teachings and learnings.  in the beginning pages of teaching as a performing art, seymour sarason likens the practice of teaching to the experiences of dramatic performance.  he cites the incessant, no matter how miniscule, stage fright he feels when he enters 'the classroom' and the consequences of losing one's audience... i wonder if these principles hold true across pedagogical philosophies.  david hansen, in the call to teach, describes the pedagogical identity of one of the teachers he profiles in this way,
"[Mr. James] conducts himself as a moral agent--as a person, that is, who can have a positive influence on students--and as a moral educator--a person whose pedagogical obligation is to steer students toward the Good." (p. 68)
do we assume the same pedagogical posture, i wonder, across the multiple settings in which we teach and are taught?  and how might we retain our moral purpose - not to be confused with the rhetoric of morality and moral education that seeks to privilege certain values over others and is manifested in the guise of 'character education' or some 'civic education' curricula - to be, as hansen describes, a "moral educator" and engage in education with others?  (i, too, wonder about the Good - whose Good? how determined? and does the meaning of Good shift?...) if, like herve varenne and colleagues (see tc record, volume 109, july 2007) we recognize that "Education is fundamental to sociability and is ubiquitous in the everyday life of all human beings" (p. 1561), then how do we attend to the many moments of education in which we engage in daily and deliberately?  and how do teaching and education come together?  and how might we decouple learning from education?  education from schooling?  so that the practice of education is not reduced to discrete and simple transactions of information as freire feared when he argued against a "banking model of education?"

these questions, about our multiple pedagogical postures, swirl in my head as i think about the role of play in my own pedagogy.  there is an implicit disdain with which play is regarded outside of the elementary school classroom... laughter and humor, in measured amounts, are respectable, but the introduction of silliness, the absurd, or something too carnivalesque or "extravagant" (see boon - Verging on extra-Vagance) garners great skepticism.

lately i have felt beleaguered by a sense that my educational practice, in which i assume and inhabit the performances of a teacher as informed by the formal parameters of particular settings, has become hostage to my own hesitations about my moral purpose.  education is a site of possibility as well as conflict, and often both.  yet conflict resonates loudly, leaves residue on our psyches, and, if not effectively engaged, can be a poorly placed anchor in swift tides.  in the past, i've assumed/embraced/embodied a pedagogy of play, and implicit in such a way of being is a stance of with.  that is, a collaborative spirit with which to conceive of, understand, and take on an endeavor.  that stance, and its connected ways of knowing, has been challenged in interesting ways in recent months, leading me to more fully understand the role of community in how we come to know, and how we come to educate and be educated.  community in the form of kindred spirits, hearty debaters, and longtime allies, all of whom share in the spirit of education and inquiry that is both purposeful and also unpredictable; where interactions, however brief, are not merely sound bytes, but meaningful spaces of intellectual work and making known; and where intentionality is implicitly understood, and not critiqued within an inch of its life.  community is both conflict and possibility, inquiry and knowing; a kind of home we create to sustain our sense of self, of belonging, of purpose.


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