Teaching as a Site of Re-presentation. Metaphors, Tropes and Texts
In this paper I outline the general crisis of representation in the social sciences. I intersperse critical personal narratives of my practice in teaching adults as metonymic illustrations of some of the dilemmas that arise when we re-present 'good teaching' to our students. I examine two contentious rhetorical devices; firstly, the trope of mimesis, which claims to offer a 'correspondence' to the 'truth' of 'reality,' and secondly, the trope of taxonomy and classification. I suggest we may be privileging one cultural space/time/site over another in our representations of good teaching practice as drawn from Anglo-American models. I argue that if we use 'text' as a metaphor for teaching, we can reveal discursive assumptions we rarely question, de-naturalize our own categories, and acknowledge the site from which we re-present teaching and learning.
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