DECOLONIZATION AS AN EMBODIED PRACTICE: REFLECTIONS OF A CITY SIGHTSEEING TOUR FOR CHINESE NEW IMMIGRANT STUDENTS IN TORONTO
OISE/University of Toronto (CANADA)
In Canada, many Chinese new immigrants find that their language and culture learning from ESL programs are problematic especially when they interact with local society embodily. Through examining a city sightseeing tour for Chinese new immigrants, this paper explores how to use "decolonization" as a framework to help these learners learn language and culture from their embodied interaction with local places. Previous scholars (e.g Partha Chatterjee, 1993; Frantz Fanon, 1961) use “decolonization” as a methodology in order to deconstruct imperialistic powers from the existing ideologies, awake the oppressed or colonized people, and balance global inequality. This paper argues that "decolonization" should not be merely understood as a method for deconstructing colonizer/colonized relation, but also be utilized as a framework for learners to decolonize the control from their minds (e.g., Ng. 2009) as well as re-understand themselves, their bodies, senses and feelings, and their interactions with different local places.
This study aims to bridge a gap between the practice of Embodied Learning (EL) and Sensational Public Pedagogy (SPG) by using the framework of "decolonization. Previous studies in Embodied Learning (e.g. Ng, 2009) believe that our experiences of the body have been colonized by our mind for a long time. It seeks for a decolonization for liberating our body and thus we could build our own body knowledge. The Sensational Public Pedagogy (e.g. Springgay, 2009) focuses on locating learners into a public space, and helping them learn from their embodied interaction with the local settings. Both of these pedagogies pay full attention to the use of people's body to learn knowledge, but they do not pay sufficient attention to the use of "decolonization" for social minority groups and they fail to build dialogues with each other. They also fail to examine how the engagement between body and space interacts with Chinese new immigrants' learning, and how these new immigrants learners find their language and culture learning as problematic while they practice learning through an embodied interaction with the local spaces.
With these concerns, I believe that it is necessary to discuss how to use the notion of "decolonization" in the practice of embodied learning and sensational public pedagogy. In this paper, it will first review previous literacies about post-colonial studies, sensational public pedagogy and embodied learning. It argues that in order to decolonize the control from one’s mind, one has to not only concern more about his body, but also pay equal attention to the interaction between body and space. In addition, this paper provides three short reflections about how Chinese new immigrants experience and interact with city sightseeing event through the embodied learning of touching and feeling these local and public sites. Finally, this paper discusses the implications of critical and transformative pedagogy. The study not only reflects how teachers should utilize public space as a place for teaching students with diverse and international backgrounds, but also explores how to help immigrant learners use their bodies, emotions and senses to learn new language and cultures.