Evaluating Spaces of Pedagogic Affect
Source TitleEvaluating Learning Environments: Snapshots of Emerging Issues, Methods and Knowledge
University of Melbourne Author/sHealy, Sarah
AffiliationArchitecture, Building and Planning
Melbourne Graduate School of Education
CitationsHealy, S. (2016). Evaluating Spaces of Pedagogic Affect. Imms, W (Ed.). Cleveland, B (Ed.). Fisher, K (Ed.). Evaluating Learning Environments: Snapshots of Emerging Issues, Methods and Knowledge, (1), pp.235-250. Sense Publishers.
Access StatusOpen Access
ARC Grant codeARC/DP150104163
I have a teenaged son. A few months ago he came home announcing that he wanted to go to a different school. Then, after a school tour he back-flipped saying: “Mum, I can’t go to that school.” When I inquired why, he said, “I don’t like the feel of it”. And I got it. Truth be known, I didn’t like the feel of it either. So what was it about that school’s environment that affected my son in such a way? Was it the cold? The smell? The green lino? The serious demeanor of the students? The old style classrooms? The greasy humidity of the canteen? The institutional grey of the music block? The clanging school bell that made us all jump? Most likely it was the complex interplay (or intra-play) of all these things and more that made the school feel the way it did. This brief encounter raises certain questions: What makes a learning space attract rather than repel? And lure somebody in? And invite someone into a pedagogic experience? How does it acquire the hallmarks of a pedagogic masterpiece? And how do we investigate this when its primary concerns are often ephemeral and non-representational phenomena like affect and affective atmospheres? And how will investigating this grow our understandings of learning spaces, pedagogies, their affects, and what they do? And why is this important? These are tricky questions that elude a simple response. At the same time it is questions like these that have the capacity to catalyse into new knowledge and practice, but only for those brave or foolhardy enough to wrestle with them. This final chapter is a brave (but hopefully not too foolhardy) proposition to do just this. The result is the development of a trajectory for future pedagogic and learning space evaluation that departs from pervasive social constructivist, cognitivist and behaviouralist approaches to education. As an exemplar of what this may look like I present a snapshot of a multiple-case study PhD investigating pedagogic affect across heterogeneous contexts such as sports clubs, sculpture walks, historic sites, museums and playgrounds. Key concepts such as pedagogical force, scenes of pedagogical address, and the materiality of affect are put to work through a practical engagement with broadly conceived spaces of learning that move beyond bounded notions of learning spaces and their pedagogies. The notion of ‘beyond’ itself becomes a thread running through much of this chapter, with concepts such as more-than-human, more-than-representational, beyond anthropocentric pedagogy, and beyond the pedagogic encounter underpinning its onto-epistemology.
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