Reading With The Ancients: Embodied Learning And Teaching To An Embodied Pedagogy?

Kim Senior, Mary Dixon
Vol 28, Number 2, p.81
Walter Benjamin reminds those of us steeped in the literal and modernist institutional discourses of benchmarks and quality of teaching surveys in higher education that ‘the most ancient’ reading involves looking to ‘entrails, the stars or dances’ (1999: 722). This paper draws upon a three-year arts-based research project with two hundred and eighty pre-service teachers (Dixon & Senior, 2009) that sought to explore the nature and quality of the learning experience in teacher education. Arising from that exploration, the possibilities for reasserting the experience of embodied ways of knowing pedagogy became apparent. This paper traces embodied teaching and learning in education and extends these understandings to offer illustrations of embodied pedagogy from the tertiary classroom. Through analysis of image, both reproductive and representational, and alongside the more familiar written language, embodiment is revealed as a generative site of epistemological understanding. The authors further argue that an embodied pedagogy opens up the normalising gaze of teacher reflection or observation to a greater awareness, a reading beyond language.