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On the Pedagogy of Suffering

Hermeneutic and Buddhist Meditations


Edited By David W. Jardine, Christopher Gilham and Graham McCaffrey

This text articulates how and why suffering can be pedagogical in character and how it is often key to authentic and meaningful acts of teaching and learning. This is an ancient idea from the Greek tragedies of Aeschylus (c. 525 BCE) – pathei mathos or «learning through suffering». In our understandable rush to ameliorate suffering at every turn and to consider every instance of it as an error to be avoided at all costs, we explore how the pedagogy that can come from suffering becomes obscured and something vital to a rich and vibrant pedagogy can be lost. This collection threads through education, nursing, psychiatry, ecology, and medicine, through scholarship and intimate breaths, and blends together affinities between hermeneutic conceptions of the cultivation of character and Buddhist meditations on suffering and its locale in our lives. This book will be useful for graduate courses on hermeneutic research in education, educational psychology, counseling, and nursing/medicine.


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Chapter Seven: Codes (S. John Williamson)


C h a p T e r s e v e n Codes w. john williamson C o d e s My students have codes Special education codes Colds, viral, pathological, easy to catch Codes, more serious in their grim munificence They linger long beyond school When our daughter was little My wife and I spoke in code For her own protection From what was too intense, too incomprehensible As most parents do We’ve stopped now that she’s older and can decipher our codes Our cat didn’t “go the farm”, he died; she was old enough to know almost every- thing Now she speaks in code with her friends Their interference thwarts our interference And we’re the baffled ones Maybe special education codes are meant to protect too Euphemistically muting diagnoses 68 | w. john williamson Problem is colleges don’t speak these codes If our students want the same accommodations there They can’t say they were coded They have to learn to call themselves disabled We call this self-advocacy Some students with 54 codes Have trouble with printed codes we take for granted A computer programming code can be made to have machines read to them Reading out loud like the ancients did The first silent reader a witch But now they say most readers read well silently Except for some code 54s Whose brains over-recruit for visual tasks They see so damn well, even in 3 dimensions, that When silently reading they lack synapses to hear the words in their...

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