Teaching as Attention Formation : A Relational Approach to Teaching and Attention
Sammanfattning: The purpose of the thesis is to put forth and explore a notion of teaching as a practice of attention formation. Drawing on educational philosophy and the Didaktik/Pädagogik-traditions, teaching is explored as a relational and lived-though practice that can promote, form, and share attention. In the context of teaching, attention is connected to the acts of showing and observing. As such, teaching can be seen as a complex of relations that emerges through the intersection of the intentions of the one who is showing and the one who is observing. This intersection creates a tension between the self-active student and the paths made possible for this self-activity. The pedagogical dimension of this tension can be expressed through the principles of the summons to self-activity and Bildsamkeit. By turning to some key-texts of the French philosopher Jacques Rancière, I explore how the notion of teaching as attention formation can be understood from within a radical relational perspective on education and also how attention itself can be thought of as an educational phenomenon. From this critical relational perspective, where the relation is seen as constitutive of educational situations and where the possibility for uniqueness, difference, and freedom are regarded as central characteristics for a democratic conception (and ethical realization) of education, I interpret Rancière’s notions of intellectual emancipation and partage du sensible as political/aesthetic analogues to the summons to self-activity and Bildsamkeit, respectively. While the event of intellectual emancipation, although constituted relationally, mainly addresses the unique attentive subject, the notion of le partage du sensible draws attention to the larger and shared context in which this event takes place. In the thesis, teaching as attention formation is addressed as a relational phenomenon in which the unique and irreplaceable subject is called into being and is given space to respond to the summons of the surrounding world and to strive against the materiality of that very same world. It is suggested that attention formation might be the educational event when someone, as a unique other, is called into presence and is given room to claim and to speak for his or her interest. It is an event made possible by those teachers who have the sensibility to discover its coming, the courage to let it happen, and the strength to accept the consequences of it.
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