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Moving Ideas

Multimodality and Embodied Learning in Communities and Schools


Edited By Mira-Lisa Katz

What does it look and feel like to communicate, create, compose, comprehend, teach, and learn with our bodies? Reaching beyond existing scholarship on multimodality and literacies, Moving Ideas expands our capacity to understand the embodied dimensions of learning and stretches our repertoires for more artfully describing them. Wresting language away from its historically privileged place at the center of social science research and practice, this collection examines the strategic layering across semiotic modes, challenging educators and researchers to revisit many of our most elemental assumptions about communication, learning, and development. The corporeal pedagogies these authors describe illuminate a powerful kind of learning that we know far too little about; in this age of accountability and high-stakes testing, failing to pay adequate attention to the promise of multimodality means forfeiting significant resources that could be used to innovatively engage people of all ages in education broadly conceived.
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4. The Communicative Body in Women’s Self-Defense Courses




The Communicative Body in Women’s

Self-Defense Courses


The classroom is1 a large space covered with blue mats and full-length mirrors along one side. In one corner are two strangely dressed figures. Both have bulky clothes on with special padding underneath. One is wearing a large padded helmet with holes cut out for the eyes and mouth, while the other has put his helmet down to the side on the mat. Along the opposite side of the room is a line of women—the students—in gym clothes. Another woman in the role of a coach leads the first student in the line out to one end of the room. She signals to the man in the helmet that they are ready, and the student jogs out onto the mat as the man steps out towards her in the opposite direction.

The woman is pretending to be a jogger out on the trails where she habitually runs, and she has requested that the helmeted man play the role of a person she passes on the path. As the two approach each other, the woman hesitates and starts to veer around the man. The helmeted man raises his hand casually, says “Hi” and continues to walk past. As the jogging woman pulls up at the other side of the room, the rest of the class laughs. The coach calls out, “That’s usually what’s going to happen!”

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