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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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Part 2. Listening from Learning Spaces


Within the interdisciplinary field of sound studies questions of context, space, and location are deeply related. Spaces sound and sound makes spaces. Andrew J. Eisenberg notes that “Sound and space—however one defines these terms—are phenomenologically and ontologically intertwined” (193). In other words, regardless of the model of sound employed, space implicates and is implicated by sound. Sound and space are experientially linked, sound and space texture ways of being in the world, and sound and space also shape ways of knowing the world.

Scholars working within the field of sound studies take up Eisenberg’s claim about sound and space as phenomenologically and ontologically intertwined in a range of ways. Steph Ceraso engages R. Murray Schafer’s discussion of soundscapes in order to consider the ecological relationship between sound and space. She explains, “sound is part of a larger material, aesthetic, and spatial ecology” (69). For Schafer the soundscape is broadly “any acoustic field of study” (“The soundscape” 7). Ceraso listens specifically for the way soundscapes emerge through deliberate and intentional practices of acoustic design. For Ceraso, acoustic design is both a technical practice and an imaginative act of sonic composition. She explains, “acoustic design is not simply the elimination or suppression of sound, but rather an inventive, process-based ←99 | 100→composing practice” (73). By considering acoustic design in relationship to the question of sound and space, Ceraso emphasizes the ways sounds and spaces are materially and culturally generated, manipulated, and entangled.

Emily Thompson similarly extends...

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