A border pedagogy to assist ‘All of Us’ in living together-in-difference

Year: 2016

Author: Walsh, Chris, Townsin, Louise

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

We present a border pedagogy for living together-in-difference to successfully teach about diverse sexualties, genders and identities in primary and secondary classrooms. Largely based on the concept of hybridity, the border pedagogy empowers students to come to know and understand otherness in its own terms, rather than being complacent that borders, and therefore dualities, are needed to separate, define and control their lives. The act of border-crossing encourages children, young people and their teachers to embrace potential miscommunication and conflict as they engage with the Safe Schools Coalition’s All of Us learning materials. Through border crossing, students and teachers can work productively to put what is known into crisis by constantly blurring and problematising boundaries, binaries and identities. At the heart of the border pedagogy is the belief that all learning is grounded in intersubjectivity and dialogue with self and others. When applied to communication, intersubjectivity is demonstrated when learners achieve the ability to take the subject position, while at the same time resisting turning ‘the other’ into an object. Such a stance encourages the development of relationships of solidarity and allyship. By confronting and disrupting exclusionary and normative ideas related to sexualities and genders, the border pedagogy supports individuals and groups of people to move beyond tolerance. This is urgent in our current social, educational and political climate, where fear and phobias of the ‘other’ severely limit our abilities to successfully live together-in-difference.