Hybrid Energies and Mutant Forms Being the confessions of a pedagogical misfit Image source: http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-08-01/ex-straw-minate-giant-dalek-sculpture-invades-cheshire-field Prologue - in which our hero* introduces himself and explains why he is a ‘pedagogical misfit’ Studied English Literature but teaches in a School of Creative Arts Joined UH in 1999 as an hourly paid lecturer, a day a week, as a ‘stopgap’ So: • An ‘accidental’ teacher… • …in the ‘wrong subject’ *’Hero’ as in ‘the main character or protagonist in a story’, not as in a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities’ (OED) Chapter III - in which our hero is unsettled ‘Unsettled’: • Worried and uneasy • Liable to change, unpredictable; • Not yet resolved (OED) Henry Fuseli, The Nightmare (1781) 1998: Receives PhD on the contemporary Northern Irish poet Paul Muldoon in – but what next…? Chapter IV - in which our hero accepts the call, crosses the threshold and meets good faerie folk 1999: begins to teach at UH Practice-based students working in interactive media, animation, etc. Challenge to prior expectations of learning in higher education Beginning of a shake-up of subject knowledge and pedagogical approaches: ‘Only connect.’ Gandalf – never a teacher at UH, and yet… Chapter VIII - in which our hero encounters a strange Fish A blobfish Chapter VIII - in which our hero encounters a strange Fish ‘…being interdisciplinary — breaking out of the prison houses of our various specialities to the open range first of a general human knowledge and then of the employment of that knowledge in the great struggles of social and political life — is not a possible human achievement. Being interdisciplinary is more than hard to do: it is impossible to do.’ (Fish, 1991: 106) Stanley Fish Chapter X - in which our hero is given a magical map and other enchanted items Discomfort of unsettlement + stimulus of new colleagues in new context leads to: • Reflection on student perspectives • Extension/refocusing of own knowledge base • Questioning of epistemologies (via Marshall McLuhan, Katherine Hayles, Trevor Joyce, etc. ) • …and of teaching modes (lectures, seminars, PBL) • …and of assessment methods (iMaps, visual essay, critical artefacts, etc.) Chapter XI - in which our hero spends time in the dark and at varying temperatures Chapter XII - in which our hero recommends unsettlement John Keats – Negative Capability: in a letter to his brothers in Dec 1817: ‘when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason’ (Gittings, 1977: 43) Marshall McLuhan: ‘The hybrid or the meeting of two media is a moment of truth and revelation from which new form is born… The moment of the meeting of media is a moment of freedom and release from the ordinary trance and numbness imposed by them on our senses.’ (McLuhan, 1994: 55) Chapter XIII - in which our hero refers, as it is decreed, to Chickering and Gamson Unsettled pedagogy can lead us unwittingly into at least 3 of Chickering and Gamson’s 7 principles: • 2. Good Practice Encourages Cooperation among Students • 3. Good Practice Encourages Active Learning • 7. Good Practice Respects Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning Chapter XIX - in which our hero returns home (sort of) Out of chaos, connections… Epilogue - in which our hero succumbs to flattery, believes his own hype, and finds himself (once again) unsettled What have I done? (And what am I going to do?) References Chickering, A.W., and Gamson, Z.F. (1987) ‘Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education.’’ American Association of Higher Education Bulletin. Vol. 39. No.7. 3-7 Fish, S. (1991) ‘Being Interdisciplinary Is So Very Hard to Do.’ Issues in Integrative Studies. No. 9. 99-112. Gittings, R., ed. (1977) Letters of John Keats. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hayles, N.K. (2002) Literary Machines. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Joyce, T. (1995) Of Two Minds: Of Hypertext Pedagogy and Poetics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. McLuhan, M. (1994, orig. 1964) Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. London and Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.