The fluid temporality of dialogic being and becoming in a higher education context

Year: 2019

Author: Vass, Eva

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Whilst advocates of dialogic pedagogies critique traditional Western classrooms for their monologic character, they are less concerned about the disembodied nature of these classrooms. Yet, lived experience of the other is at the heart of the dialogical opening, which can be envisaged as a dynamic, unpredictable and transformative process of collective being and becoming (Author 2019). In this sense, Bakhtinian dialogic theory resonates with Natural Inclusionality, a re-conceptualisation of the science of nature which sees space, time, energy as “mutually inclusive aspects of reality as ‘place-time’” (Rayner 2011). A phenomenological vision of this relational reciprocity opens up concerns about the narrow, potentially limiting spatial and temporal configurations of educational learning contexts.

This paper looks at a Master’s unit of a music teacher education programme facilitating students’ musical and pedagogical knowledge through collective, somatic musical experiences. The research data including video recordings of all sessions of a focal cohort, creative products (paintings, drawings) and students’ reflective essays. The data allow for the corroboration of the immediate, spoken reflections (recorded during the sessions) with participants’ retrospective sense making in their essays. Whilst the data lend themselves conveniently to a more traditional observational or narrative analysis from a third-person position, such outward perception is combined with inward sensing, incorporating the researcher’s lived experiences. The paper explores the data through the notion of temporality. The aim is to unpack the temporality of the teaching and learning as experienced by the participants and the researcher: the way in which experiences unfold, disconnect or form a fluid continuity through the sessions and beyond.

The findings demonstrate the fluid physical, personal and temporal boundaries in the observed music-movement sessions. This is manifested in the continuity between the personal/collective ‘dreamworld’ emerging during sessions and actual time and place, between the personal and the collective space-time; between moments, phases and junctures within and across sessions. Participants’ reflections capture the nourishment, vitality and relevance of this multi-temporality for their personal transformations and professional learning trajectories. Yet, there are also experiences of conflict arising from the incongruence between the temporal boundaries imposed by the institutional setting, and the fluid temporality promoted by the Master’s unit. This paper paves the way for further research into the links and relationships between a more fluid temporality and the potentiality of dialogic emergence in education.