Creativity, Group Pedagogy and Social Action

The following paper continues discussions about how the work of Delueze and Guattari can inform radical pedagogy. Building primarily on Noel Gough’s paper, we take up the challenge to move towards a more creative form of ‘becoming cyborg’ in our teaching. In contrast to work that has focused on Deleuzian theories of the rhizome, we deploy Guattari’s work on institutional schizoanalysis to explore the role of group creativity in radical pedagogy. The institutional therapies of Felix Guattari’s schizoanalytic practice in the 1950s and 1960s and, before him, the Francophone educationalist Celestin Freinet, who founded the Modern School Movement, are explored and used to illuminate examples of some of our own attempts to set the classroom up as a space for collective engagement. We conclude by exploring how this understanding of the class as subject group may be used to mobilise action and de-stabilise the coordinates of existing academic divisions of labour.

Returning to the question of creativity, the goals of novelty and playfulness become products of the transformation of the class into a subject group, rather than a subjected group. This is perhaps not surprising, as the idea of directly forcing students to be creative is nonsensical. Building on this group analysis,  for us, the challenge to radical pedagogy has shifted then, towards the question of how to act. Again, tracing Guattari’s intellectual genealogy bears fruit. Non-Anglophone pedagogical philosophy, such as that associated with Celestin Freinet and the New Schools Movement in France, has left a far more active legacy of politicising the classroom around the ideals of group action in the world. Freinet’s techniques involved the ‘learning walk’ through local communities, after which the students researched and authored ‘free texts’, which then turned into pre-texts for local action, both amongst themselves and more widely. This kind of exercise resonates with our efforts to create a space for students to map situated ethical responses, just on a larger stage.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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