Columbia Teachers College Review: Learning Is “Radically Unmanageable”

13 05 2008

Which assuming that “to teach” is to manage someone else’s learning, would make college majors and state certifications in teaching pretty silly if not fraudulent, yes? 👿

Personally this is my first encounter with educational spatial theories (hey, grad school for me was a quarter-century ago, give me a senior discount!) and so I won’t poke further fun at it until I learn at least enough more to do it properly! — but apparently this is indeed a serious subject for education theory intellectuals, predicated on the work of one Edward W. Soja in books like “Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and real-and-imagined places” and cultural conference offerings such as 2003’s “Spaces of Identity” from IU.

And look, “homeschooling” even gets a shout-out in this review of education spatial theory, so maybe it IS worth doing my own homework to learn more:

Claudia Hanson Thiem puts the case simply in her “re-reading” of the U.S. homeschooling movement: “If place and scale are part of political practice, they should become part of the conceptual repertoire used to analyze educational governance and policy development” (p. 17).

This collection offers a series of well documented, strongly argued, and clearly focused studies. Taken together, they demonstrate that “spatial effects” do indeed exist in the dimension of education. To study education without considering how the dynamics of educational policy and practice create spatial effects (such as unequal provision, choice, identity, globalization, literacy, visualization) is to risk narrowed or flawed understanding. . .“Space hides consequences from us all … thinking differently about what happens ‘out there’, at a distance, is a matter of both urgency and obligation” (p. 73).

. . . While “Spatial Theories of Education” urges us to reexamine educational research that fails to take spatiality into account, it stops short of a full-on consideration of just how radical the study of
spatiality could prove to be for educators. . . deeper considerations of spatiality may, and should, involve educators in deeper explorations of time, embodiment, and movement.

. . .Learning takes place, it unfolds in time, it has duration.
And then it must take place again–in spaces and ways that are never the same twice. This fact poses interesting and immense challenges for the study of educational policy.

How can you design policies about things when they are in the making? How can you decide among competing policy approaches to educational spaces and times when those spaces and
times are not yet made, placeable, nameable, categorizable, bounded …
because they are, in fact, continuously unfolding and never finished?

. . .What might educational researchers make of education when, by taking the spatial turn, they come to deeper and more profound appreciation for, and celebration of, the fact that education’s space is a process, that education’s time and space combine in becoming–and that its becoming is radically unmanageable? As all learning is.




3 responses

14 05 2008

Hmmm, very interesting!!!

14 05 2008

HA! I’ve long suspected you were a closet intellectual, Miss Deanne!

16 05 2008

I didn’t know I kept it so well hidden. ;P Really though, it’s a somewhat of a constant battle inside of me, deciding when to let my heart and when to let my head rule. :O

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