Teaching with the Flow: Fixity and fluidity in education

Taylor and Francis
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 2005, 25 (1), pp. 29 - 43
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In this paper I suggest that as educators we need to understand that the spaces and cultures our students inhabit are to be found not so much in predefinitions of cultural background or in studies of classrooms as cultural spaces as in the transcultural flows with which our students engage. Thus, my argument is not only that, as Singh and Doherty (2004) suggest, the flow of international students turns many classrooms into global education contact zones (p. 11), but also that the global flows of English and popular culture turn classrooms in many parts of the world into spaces of transcultural contact. Students can no longer be understood as located in a bounded time and space in and around their classrooms but rather are participants in a much broader set of transcultural practices. Taking the global culture of hip-hop as an example, with a particular focus on hip-hop in parts of East and Southeast Asia, I argue that with English increasingly becoming the medium of global transcultural exchange, we need to understand the relations between English, popular culture, education and identity, or the ways in which global Englishes become a shifting means of transcultural identity formation. What I want to suggest here, then, is that in order to be attentive to the politics of location in the global context, we need a pedagogy of flow.
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