Teaching Bodies in Place
by Stephanie Jones & James F. Woglom - 2013
Background/Context: This piece draws on literature in justice-oriented teacher education, feminist pedagogy, and postmodern notions of bodies and place to make sense of data generated from a three-year study of an undergraduate teacher education course. A feminist lens was used to engage a body- and place-focused pedagogy that aimed to engage students in recognizing themselves as full-bodied and cultured beings who can work to better understand and expand their perceptions of themselves and others in place.
Purpose: The authors argue that postmodern theories of bodies and place can provide complex insights for both theorizing and practicing teacher education. Readers have the opportunity to experience alternative community-based teacher education practice through a graphic presentation and consider both the theoretical and practice implications in the broader field of education.
Research Design: This three-year study is an arts-based qualitative inquiry into the experiences of a course where feminist and postmodern notions of bodies and place informed the pedagogical decision-making of their professor (Stephanie Jones). Data were generated across three years and those focused specifically on or around the community bus ride were used to ask questions about how bodies and places interact with one another to produce sense-making about people, places, and the purposes of education. As part of the inquiry, Stephanie produced visual images in comics-form presenting pedagogical interactions and experiences that illuminated theoretical insights and then engaged Jim in conversations and sketch-sharing about theory and practice related to the data and how it was experienced in real-time by Stephanie. After numerous conversations looking over each panel and analytical discussions about bodies, place, and pedagogies as they were produced on the page and multiple revisions of both images and print text, Stephanie and Jim settled on the graphic production published here as both a representation of the research and a provocation for reimagining teacher education practice and scholarship.
Conclusions: The study is an example of how pedagogies informed by theoretical understandings of bodies and place can produce practices that help teacher education students recognize their bodies as central sites for critical change inside and outside institutions. Tending to, documenting, and discussing their bodily-ways-of-being in different places and how bodies/places produce perceptions of others were powerful practices that helped students think deeply about power and their roles as future teachers.
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