DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE: PARTICULARISED INTERPRETATIONS AND METAPHORIC MACHINATIONS OF PEDAGOGY AND PRACTICE
This presentation includes both a brief overview of a "Faculty Learning Community" series entitled, “Pedagogy and Practice” and a more in-depth explication of one participant’s perspective as it unfolded and evolved over the course of one academic year. A cross-disciplinary group of six faculty members met [typically] once monthly, and using as foundation for conversations the text, Learning in Adulthood (Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner, 2006), pedagogical terrain was navigated and negotiated ranging from theories of cognition to transformational learning to personal narratives. A walk-through of some of the questions that arose, topics of inquiry, and understandings that emerged will also be presented as potential “take-aways” that may be applied or revised for those who might be interested in engaging in similar conversations in their respective institutions.
Housed within five distinct faculties, participants in this discussion series came from a range of research and teaching experience (from several years to several decades), various departments (Aviation, Child Studies and Social Work, Communications, Education, Health and Physical Education, and Policy Studies), and – needless to say – diverse perspectives.
Although pedagogy as practice, along with its myriad set of sub topics, is part of our “ordinary”, day to day existence as professors, pedagogues, instructors, teachers, and any other label one wishes to apply to what we “do” within our classrooms, this “ordinary” existence progressively became an extraordinary examination of topic, of others, of self. As our conversations moved from textual explorations to recounting experience, new questions, new insights, and new considerations arose, propelling us towards a new and renewed vitality for the work we do as instructors and researchers. The initial [seemingly straightforward, simple] task – to investigate and explicate our understandings of pedagogy and practice – became a highly complex, highly convoluted, and highly valued enactment. Amidst the manifold meanings – or rather interpretations – of pedagogy, we came together on many fronts but we also each emerged with our own [reconceptualised] sense of the meaning of pedagogy on a variety of levels: the shared, the practical, and the personal. This presentation will further elucidate these three levels as well as offer a potential metaphor for the transformation that can occur when one participates in a fearless though not entirely non threatening exposure of long held beliefs that may no longer be in the best interests of self as well as others. The metaphor to which I refer here stems from the science fiction film, The Matrix (1999), specifically, the scene where Morpheus (historically, the Greek god of dreams), offers the main character, Neo, the red pill or the blue pill: “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes…”