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Materiality in Teaching and Learning


Edited By Pauline Sameshima, Boyd White and Anita Sinner

Ma is a curriculum. The Japanese concept of ma refers to the interval between two markers. Ma is somatically constructed by a deliberate, attentive consciousness to what simultaneously is expressed, repressed, or suppressed between two structures. In a dialectic exploration, the spaces between—private/public, teacher/student, old/new, self/other, among others—are probed in ways that contribute to the significant research in teaching and learning that has been undertaken in the last few decades.

Material culture is the study of belief systems, behaviours, and perceptions through artefacts and physical objects and is central to the socialization of human beings into culture. The analysis of cultural materials offers sites for concretizing the self and the self in context. New materiality challenges assumptions and clichés and allows for possibilities not yet imagined, perhaps even inconceivable possibilities. New materiality approaches accept that matter itself has agency. As such, this book investigates the intersections at the core of ma, engagements wherein the investigations create something new, in order to demonstrate the layers of the teaching and learning self.

Interpretations of the concept of ma articulate new definitions to improve the conditions, practices, products, and pedagogies of being a teacher/learner in the twenty-first century. Ma is a site for epistemological understandings, threshold learnings, and self and curriculum becomings.

Ma, edited by Pauline Sameshima, Boyd White, and Anita Sinner, is an intellectual de-light to read and leads to a concerned thoughtfulness centered upon materiality and material cul-ture and its absence in teacher preparation. The chapters written by scholars in various fields within curriculum theory, poetry, art, and Japanese theory are profound in their exploration of the concept of Ma and teacher identity. I am always fascinated when scholars discuss the spaces in-between. This book discusses the spaces between in significant and insightful ways and is a ma-jor contribution to current scholarship for this reason alone. Scholars in education need to read this book.” William Reynolds, Associate Professor of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading, Georgia Southern University

“In a time when binaries abound, and big data is used to label and commodify so many aspects of our lives, this stunning and diverse collection of chapters powerfully draws us to the ‘light in the cracks’ as Leonard Cohen sang. This book stirs and inspires—there are no limits as to what could be imagined and positively transformed through an awareness of ma. This book should be required reading in every teacher education program.” Robert Lake, Professor of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading, Georgia Southern University

“Sameshima, White, and Sinner have assembled an eclectic thought-provoking collection of au-thors that calls upon us to (re)think, (re)theorize, and (re)write our work between the spaces of post-qualitative research, new materiality, teacher education, curriculum, currere, and Japanese philosophy. Readers are introduced to the Japanese concept of ‘ma,’ which in turn promises to make significant contributions to the emerging educational research on materiality and material culture within and beyond curriculum studies, teaching, and learning. Serious educational schol-ars will want to have a copy of this innovative collection on their bookshelf.” Nicholas Ng-A-Fook, Professor, Director of Teacher Education, Faculty of Education, Universi-ty of Ottawa

“I hope you slowly weave through these essays; feel and linger the breadth of their ideas. From artists, fiction writers, poets, and pedagogues, Sameshima, White, and Sinner have assembled a fine collection of scholars whose essays capture the possibilities of ma. They, I, we encourage you to stop, slow down, and explore the space that cannot be filled but shapes our experiences. Performatively edited and written in three sections, these essays cover the practice of theory, the materiality of practice, and the theory of new materialism in its many forms.” John Weaver, Professor of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading, Georgia Southern University

“Reading Ma gave me a jolt, a shock of recognition that phenomenologists point to as reminders of our bodily and material experiences of life. When so much of our lives can seem ephemeral and detached from lived experiences, and when changes in the physical and natural world can seem overwhelming, the concept of ‘ma’ invites us to explore the productive tensions often obscured by cultural abstractions and binary distinctions. The return to materiality, to arti-fact-making, weaving and the physical resonances that are gifts of poetry, narrative, and other forms of art, suggest rich forms of inquiry into teachers’ and teachers-to-be lives and identities. This book registers a profound hope: that we can create meaning in relation to the material world but not apart from it.” Hans Smits, Associate Professor Emeritus, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary

“Schools and schooling seem so inevitable, so normal, that even so-called ‘reforms’ are mere window dressing. For true change, we need books like this to surprise us into re-thinking educa-tion. With poetry, art, theory, and narrative, it evokes the material and magical possibilities of teaching and learning, and reminds us that education could and should be a radical process of becoming, of changing, of being between what is and what will be.” Anthony Paré, Professor and Department Head, Language and Literacy Education, University of British Columbia

“In the material turn stories stare back, a post-qualitative even political sensation, testifying in/through haiku, haibun, kokoro, bauspiel, lingering in liminality, illumining an architecture of attunement, accompaniment, presence: MAteriality. This is a vocabulary for entering the space between two markers, separation after symbiosis, individuation perhaps. Enter here.” William F. Pinar, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Curriculum Studies, University of British Columbia