7. Pedagogical Place
this is to say, flow
and its disruption
knowing when to move things along
to interrupt, or override
to show and not tell
to accept being stopped
is an embodied understanding afforded by deep aural awareness
that aims towards the shared practice of freedom
Following Ingold and Ahmed, I consider the intense domestic space of this flat during lockdown as a place that is in part constituted by dominant orientations and impressions, by behaviors and tendencies that are inherited, shared, and passed on unconsciously and that may also be questioned, challenged, resisted, modified, or transformed as it is heard. My home is a pedagogical place, and enílikagogical place, where adults teach children, adults teach adults, and children teach adults and each other. bell hooks, writing of personal experiences as both a learner and teacher in the US education system through an “interplay of anticolonial, critical and feminist pedagogies” (hooks 1994: 10), emphasizes the teacher’s responsibility to shape the classroom as a space that admits excitement while recognizing and valuing each participant in the learning process. In order to build a space that might move past the learning of “obedience to authority” and towards education as “the practice of freedom,” hooks advocates the building of an environment that is socially engaged, adaptable, and fun, in which “agendas (have) to be flexible […] to allow for spontaneous shifts in direction” and in which “[S]tudents had to be seen in their particularities as individuals […] and interacted with according to their needs” (hooks 1994: 4-7). For hooks, the personal experiences and narratives of teachers and students are useful elements in building such a space, as they may “eliminate the possibility that we [teachers] can function as all-knowing, silent interrogators” (hooks 1994: 21). Social engagement, the sharing of personal narratives, and, by implication, attentive and careful listening, are key elements in the building of a classroom that “enables transgressions – a movement against and beyond boundaries,” while aiding the personal development of teachers as “self-actualising” individuals (hooks 1994: 12, 15).
Stacey Holman Jones writes of critical autoethnography as a radical pedagogical practice wherein teachers might be “as critical of their own intersectional positionings within cultures as they are of their relationships with others” (Jones 2018: 5). Resonating with hooks’ notion of the “self-actualizing” teacher, Jones proposes “self-transformation” in teachers and learners alike as a key objective of radical pedagogy. Peter Gouzouasis et al. emphasize the significance of reflexivity in the practice of “becoming pedagogical,” proposed as a process of “embodied living inquiry whereby the learner is committed to learning in and through time and space, with an emphasis (i.e., weight) placed upon creative flow” (Gouzouasis, Irwin, Miles, Gordon 2013: 2, 4). Engaged pedagogy is emphasized as performative, relational, embodied, and self-critical.
These recommendations towards critical, radical pedagogy ring true as I reflect upon my experience of critical listening and sounding in the home, considering the home as a pedagogical place, a place of learning, in and through which inhabitants navigate tensions between their own comfort and its disruption. This home under lockdown has in the most literal sense become a teaching and learning space, a place for the home-schooling of primary school-aged children. What approaches to learning and teaching does this home we are making afford and admit? How might a reflexive practice of co-composing the home contribute to the perpetual regenerating of a living space that may afford, enable, and orientate our bodies and selves towards a shared practice of freedom? Deep Listening, soundwalking, and long-form, collaborative free improvisation can be practiced together as the basis for an engaged pedagogical method of co-composing place, in the newly charged environment of the home under lockdown. Through the ongoing context of COVID-19, and of pervasive socio-political inequalities, injustices and violence both local and global, such critical listening and sounding in the home might form a basis for learning and teaching new relational sensitivities, critical capacities, and social understandings, for “becoming pedagogical” – towards a more engaged, earthly, and politicized life.
was this autoethnography a self-conceit?
“I artfully manage my indoor kingdom…”
“… conserve a shared space of isolation”
“straight white married guy wallows in sublime middle-class quiet enforced by shouting, hiding and withholding snacks”
I mean to learn to listen better
inside and outside
to practice critical listening-as-dwelling
in this home-frame microcosm
of the social
to participate in making and understanding
of hearing ourselves
in the world