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Listening for Learning

Performing a Pedagogy of Sound and Listening

Chris McRae

Whoosh, crunch, buzz, inhale, exhale . . . Listening for Learning: Performing a Pedagogy of Sound and Listening presents sound, listening, and pedagogical interactions as performances that create relationships, ways of being and knowing, and that provide an opportunity for transformations of existing and taken-for-granted practices in the classroom. By using performative listening and performative writing this book presents fragments of sound and listening as sites of learning and knowledge production. The written fragments throughout this book are offered as performances that listen for and hear sound as a central feature to educational practices in terms of bodies, classrooms, and pedagogy. The goal in sharing this performance of listening is to create opportunities for recognition, to invite further listening in educational contexts, and to employ listening as an opportunity for transforming and re-imagining educational spaces and interactions.

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Chapter 2. Listening for Teaching Bodies


This chapter listens to and for the different ways that teachers sound in the performance classroom. The listening fragments in this chapter are performed in writing from a second person point of view as an invitation to you, the reader, to engage with and consider the embodied positioning, perspective, and experience of the teaching body.

The performance of listening to and for sounds of teachers in the performance classroom presented in Chapter 2 emerge from my experience as a teacher, as well as from my conversations with and observations of other teachers. These fragments are imaginative accounts of the sounds and are deliberately composed and curated to create a sense of some of the considerations and experiences of teaching bodies. These moments are, as with the other fragments throughout this book, also offered as an invitation and call for you to listen for teaching bodies.

Sound, as a starting place, for engaging with the experiences and efforts of teaching bodies creates possibilities and opportunities for rethinking and reimaging what teaching bodies do, how they move, and how they interact with and are shaped by others in classroom spaces. Here I listen to the sounds ←49 | 50→of teaching bodies as always in process, as emergent, and relational. Or as Erin Manning explains, “What a body does is ecological: it becomes in relation to a changing environment, and what it does in that relation is what it is. A body is a tending, an inflection, an incipient...

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