Deleuze as a Philosopher of Education

Semetsky, I. 2009. Deleuze as a Philosopher of Education: Affective Knowledge/Effective Learning. The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms, 14 (4), pp443-456.

I thought I’d get this month’s Pedagogy Reading Group item under my belt early. I’ve reached the end – twice – but it’s not under my belt at all. I understood probably two sentences in it. I wonder who picked this, and why? I’ll ask Nicholas.

Maybe I’m missing something in my brain but I honestly couldn’t make any sense of it at all. It seems like an attempt to write about something there are no words for. Was the author on psychedelics? Was Deleuze?

It wasn’t just the writing that my brain was rejecting, but some of the ideas too. Maybe I’m feeling a little too exhausted from being with my new students, and being constantly confronted with the feeling that things (e.g. the robustness of our IT systems) are going backwards rather than forwards, but all of a sudden I can’t imagine what transformative learning looks like. How often do people truly get transformed by learning? Is it momentary – as the author (and Kierkegaard) suggests – or does it generally happen over a longer period of time? Do these transformations last? Are we not mostly just plodding along, making the same mistakes, stuck in the same patterns?

The references to creative process and creative ‘force’ I also found wearing. I felt what the author described as ‘creation’ could equally be described as ‘deconstruction’. Also, ‘force’ is a pretty unsuitable metaphor if you want to talk about reaction without action. Call me a massive pedant, but A-level Physics might be the one thing I have over this particular author so I’ll take it, thanks.

…and those graphs!!! Fine, have an imaginary axis, but if you draw it and label it ‘imaginary axis’, it’s not imaginary any more, is it?

The bit about Socrates’ learning paradox (how do you come to know what you don’t know, if you don’t know what you don’t know?) was probably the only bit that was straightforward, but I couldn’t see how it related to the rest. Most of it I didn’t get at all; the metaphor about things being ‘wrapped up’ in nature, as in the folds of a fabric… what was that all about?

All good fun I suppose. Looking forward to the PRG meeting where I’m hoping to find out what on earth is going on here.


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