Teaching, self-surveillance and criticality: Entangled practices in contradictory workplaces of higher education

Year: 2018

Author: Tuinamuana, Katarina, Yoo, Joanne

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this presentation we narrate a story of teaching  in higher education. This story has three sub-plots: first, the dilution of critical reflection, second, the tensions of mindfulness and self-care, and third, the relentlessness of the standards movement in teacher education. The narrative is based on our auto-ethnographic experiences of teaching, specifically of one course designed for pre-service teachers, but more broadly of our own questions about teaching as an embodied social practice. The presentation is underpinned by an understanding of the contradictory nature of working in higher education, a context that simultaneously seems to seek criticality at the same time that it performs daily surveillance of and with its participants. We tell this story not necessarily to suggest ‘ways forward’, but because we are ourselves entangled in the confrontations, contradictions, and dilemmas of the colonising power of rationalistic thinking, and the unceasing search for certainty in much of what we are told ‘counts’ as scholarship and teaching in higher education. Surfacing some of these dilemmas draws together space for an in-depth, fine-grained analysis of cultures of everyday practice in higher education, and how these might be connected to questions around ‘impact’ and engagement of educational research through our teaching.