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Hybrid Energies and Mutant Forms. Being the confessions of a pedagogical misfit. Image source: http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-08-01/ex-straw-minate-giant-dalek-sculpture-invades-cheshire- field.

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hybrid energies and mutant forms

Hybrid Energies and Mutant Forms

Being the confessions of a pedagogical misfit

Image source: http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-08-01/ex-straw-minate-giant-dalek-sculpture-invades-cheshire-field

prologue in which our hero introduces himself and explains why he is a pedagogical misfit
Prologue - in which our hero* introduces himself and explains why he is a ‘pedagogical misfit’
  • Studied English Literature but teaches in a School of Creative Arts
  • Joined UH in 1999 as an hourly paid lecturer, a day a week, as a ‘stopgap’
  • So:
  • An ‘accidental’ teacher…
  • …in the ‘wrong subject’

*’Hero’ as in ‘the main character or protagonist in a story’, not as in a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities’ (OED)

chapter iii in which our hero is unsettled
Chapter III - in which our hero is unsettled
  • ‘Unsettled’:
  • Worried and uneasy
  • Liable to change, unpredictable;
  • Not yet resolved (OED)
  • 1998: Receives PhD on the contemporary Northern Irish poet Paul Muldoon in – but what next…?

Henry Fuseli, The Nightmare (1781)

chapter iv in which our hero accepts the call crosses the threshold and meets good faerie folk
Chapter IV - in which our hero accepts the call, crosses the threshold and meets good faerie folk

1999: begins to teach at UH

Practice-based students working in interactive media, animation, etc.

Challenge to prior expectations of learning in higher education

Beginning of a shake-up of subject knowledge and pedagogical approaches: ‘Only connect.’

Gandalf – never a teacher at UH, and yet…

chapter viii in which our hero encounters a strange fish1
Chapter VIII - in which our hero encounters a strange Fish

‘…being interdisciplinary — breaking out of the prison houses ofour various specialitiesto the open range first of a general human knowledge and then of the employment of that knowledge in the great struggles of social and political life — is not a possible human achievement. Being interdisciplinary is more than hard to do: it is impossible to do.’

(Fish, 1991: 106)

Stanley Fish

chapter x in which our hero is given a magical map and other enchanted items
Chapter X - in which our hero is given a magical map and other enchanted items
  • Discomfort of unsettlement + stimulus of new colleagues in new context leads to:
  • Reflection on student perspectives
  • Extension/refocusing of own knowledge base
  • Questioning of epistemologies (via Marshall McLuhan, Katherine Hayles, Trevor Joyce, etc. )
  • …and of teaching modes (lectures, seminars, PBL)
  • …and of assessment methods (iMaps, visual essay, critical artefacts, etc.)
chapter xii in which our hero recommends unsettlement
Chapter XII - in which our hero recommends unsettlement

John Keats– Negative Capability: in a letter to his brothers in Dec 1817: ‘when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason’ (Gittings, 1977: 43)

Marshall McLuhan: ‘The hybrid or the meeting of two media is a moment of truth and revelation from which new form is born… The moment of the meeting of media is a moment of freedom and release from the ordinary trance and numbness imposed by them on our senses.’ (McLuhan, 1994: 55)

chapter xiii in which our hero refers as it is decreed to chickering and gamson
Chapter XIII - in which our hero refers, as it is decreed, to Chickering and Gamson

7

  • Unsettled pedagogy can lead us unwittingly into at least 3 of Chickering and Gamson’s 7 principles:
  • 2. Good Practice Encourages Cooperation among Students
  • 3. Good Practice Encourages Active Learning
  • 7. Good Practice Respects Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning
slide17
Epilogue - in which our hero succumbs to flattery, believes his own hype, and finds himself (once again) unsettled

What have I done? (And what am I going to do?)

references
References

Chickering, A.W., and Gamson, Z.F. (1987) ‘Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education.’’ American Association of Higher Education Bulletin. Vol. 39. No.7. 3-7

Fish, S. (1991) ‘Being Interdisciplinary Is So Very Hard to Do.’ Issues in Integrative Studies. No. 9. 99-112.

Gittings, R., ed. (1977) Letters of John Keats. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hayles, N.K. (2002) Literary Machines. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Joyce, T. (1995) Of Two Minds: Of Hypertext Pedagogy and Poetics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.

McLuhan, M. (1994, orig. 1964) Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. London and Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.