Learning bodies: What do teachers learn from embodied practice?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Issues in Educational Research, 2016, 26 (3), pp. 528 - 542
Issue Date:
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© 2016, Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Inc. All rights reserved. In this article, we reflect on ways that young adolescents learn through embodied practice, which we define as moments when the body is ‘caught up’ in learning activities. Our observations draw from two workshops conducted as part of the IMC Sky High! program which annually involves over 150 Year 7 and 8 students from schools in low socioeconomic areas of south-west Sydney, Australia. The program is delivered on and off campus by a team at the University of Technology Sydney. In addition to building confidence and skill in curriculum areas, the program aims to introduce young high school students to a tertiary environment and motivate them to engage more actively at school. Paying close attention to a classical music encounter and a trip to a museum, we use ethnographic strategies to consider how looking, doing, listening and proximity facilitate feelings of connection and motivation towards learning. We discuss how an educators’ sensitivity to the listening and speaking body, and the learning and caring body can enhance learning design and opportunities for engagement. Greater awareness of embodiment can enable educators to facilitate rich, sensory learning encounters that are empowering and transformative.
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