Knowledge to knowing: Implications of ‘Staying with the Trouble’ in promoting response- ability within music and science teacher education

Laura Colucci-Gray, Carolyn Fiona Cooke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

There are significant pressures within teacher education to maintain and reproduce notions of knowledge as fixed, universal and by implication, ‘bankable’ through transfer, transmission or download. Such notions are reiterated by a return to the ‘measurable’ in policy terms, which is accompanied by increasing expectations - generated using new technologies - of mass knowledge delivery. Power verticality is embedded in structures which separate teachers from learners, and learners from contexts, abstract from material. An interesting subset of this trend is the case of music education and science education. Both disciplines share in a tradition of materialist practice, that is, a process of knowledge-making deriving from the use of ‘instruments’ enabling the scientist or musician to produce knowledge through interaction with people, places and materials. Arguably however, representational views of knowledge in these subjects privileges tradition, canon, and reification in music, while emphasising facts and theories as separate from values in science. While these representational views of knowledge have been significantly contested by feminist theory, materialism, complexity theory and in line with this special issue, Haraway’s book ‘Staying with the trouble’, there still remains significant challenges in developing music and science student teachers who are response-able to a view of knowing as active, dynamic, emergent and entangled. The development of such response-ability as promoted by Haraway has significant implications for teacher education, both in relation to the knowledge and modes of knowing which are made available to learners in Higher education. Specifically, we wish to detail a way of working which is essentially relational and embodied; it draws upon musical and scientific inquiries as a means to enhance and multiply personal awareness of entangled relationships by enhancing sensorial, perceptual and perspectival experiences. Through music and the experience of sound, learners can practice with the materiality of sound, the gaps and presences of sound in semi-urban settings as revealing of the material textures in which life unfolds. Through scientific inquiry, and the experience of selective perception, learners can become more acutely aware of what is left out of any given disciplinary and methodological frame, thus becoming aware of personal choices and boundaries as relative and contingent to context and the specific position of the observer. From a pedagogical point of view, learning processes unfolding at the intersection of science and musical inquiries seek to support:including: - developing attentiveness to ‘being-with’, both inside and outside the classroom, - perceiving themselves as an integral part of ‘making-with’, - foregrounding the improvisatory, emergent, embodied and affective nature of learning, - reconceptualising the teacher role including issues such as power, control, relationships, and teacher as ‘knowledgeable’, and - negotiating the role of histories (traditions, subject ‘content’, canon, theories etc.) within a response-able knowing. We suggest that such an approach is profoundly onto-ethical- epistemological for it is aimed at moving student teachers from ‘human exceptionalism and bounded individualism’, which are tied up with technical rationality in education, to a view of the teacher / young person relationship as being one of ‘making with / becoming with’. The intervention as it is described here is more akin to a way of being in the world, whereby being and learning are both part of a process of physical, intellectual and spiritual growth. Through bringing together perspectives from music and science education, this article will explore how such implications provide an opening to reconceptualising teacher education pedagogy to 'stay with the trouble', ‘being-with’ and ‘making-with’ within teacher education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPosthumanism and Higher Education
Subtitle of host publicationReimagining Pedagogy, Practice and Research
EditorsCarol Taylor
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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