Investigating ‘the other’ through embodied pedagogies: the role of the teacher in leading a collaborative, embodied and aesthetic teaching practice to build understandings about our relationships with and treatment of the ‘the other’.

Year: 2019

Author: Bird, Jane, Sinclair, Christine

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper focuses on research undertaken by the two presenters into the pedagogical and collaborative learning practices associated with an embodied approach to teaching (Neelands, 2011) where the teacher understands the body as a site of risk and possibility as well as a site of knowing - of self, of others [empathy], and the world. The research closely examines a practical embodied workshop based on the complex text Stick Figuresby Shaun Tan where the themes of difference, acceptance and our treatment of ‘the other’ are explored. A case study was undertaken at The Science of Learning Classroom, situated in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne, a ‘state -of-the-art facility’ that provides ‘an innovative research design to investigate those aspects of learning for which ‘the social’ represents the most fundamental and useful level of explanation’ (Chan, M. C. E., Clarke, D., & Cao, Y. 2017:40). The technical innovations of The Science of Learning Classroom enables ‘student-student collaborative problem solving’ (Chan et. al. 2017) to be recorded within an active, group-focused learning experience. Through observation; video capture; participant and researcher reflection; the researchers investigated the impact of embodied and collaborative problem-solving learning experiences which contributed to participants’ engagement and learning. Analysis of data revealed this embodied practice supported participants in taking on different and diverse perspectives to build understandings about the pre-text itself as well as understandings about our relationships with and treatment of the ‘the other’. This paper addresses the role taken by the workshop facilitator and the principles she employed in leading participants through social learning practices towards social understandings.