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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 5. Listening for Reverberations


The classroom is a dynamic cultural and social space. Or as Judith Hamera argues, “space is not simply an inert context, a barren stage waiting for actors to show up” (76). Spaces, like classrooms, are active and vibrant spaces that produce and are produced by social and cultural interactions and configurations. This chapter presents examples of listening for the classroom that work to hear and attend to the ways the space might reverberate and resonate with other social and cultural spaces and practices. This approach to sound and space is in part informed by what Andrew S. Eisenberg refers to as an ecological modality of space (195). An ecological approach to sound and space works to consider the relationships between sound, space, and social configurations (197–198).

Steven Feld’s conception of acoustemology enacts this ecological modality of space in the consideration of the relational ontology and epistemology that are embodied in and by sound and listening (12–15). Feld explains, “This relationality is both a routine condition of dwelling and one that produces consciousness of modes of acoustic attending, of ways of listening for and resounding to presence” (15). Acoustemology marks the ways sound and listening are practices that are always entangled with social arrangements, histories, ←127 | 128→and spaces. In this chapter, I listen for the ways the classroom, as an ecological modality of space, emerges and enacts an acoustemology, or way of knowing in and through sound, that is always relationally connected to and with other...

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