Hopeful Lines of Flight: Possibilities for Reimagining Pedagogy in the Early Years of Primary School in Australia

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

To work within, research and write about education in the contemporary contexts of Australia is to be situated within a particular territorialised professional space (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987). Striations and sedimentation within this territorialised space of primary school education have been formed and dominated by the movement of globalisation in education and the neoliberal policy agenda in Australia; threaded through with dominant discourses of childhood, and remnant tracings of socio-historical constructions of infant/primary school education in a post-colonial Australian context. It was in response to this territorialised space that I sought to research with a school that might offer possibilities of lines of flight that deterritorialise and reterritorialise the ways in which pedagogy is imagined and enacted in the early years of primary school. The case study presented in this thesis was conducted with children, teachers and parents at Collingwood College (with a particular focus on the early years of primary school): a culturally, linguistically, and socio-economically diverse state-school community in inner-urban Melbourne. The school community has a history of thinking about education creatively. I constructed the theoretical armature for this study from connection points between discourses of hope, feminist poststructural theories, and Deleuzio-Guattarian concepts. Located at one connection point is the understanding that illuminating difference in the actual, in ‘concrete’ lived experience, can allow a shift in what it is possible to imagine, and can open up new potentialities, new transformative hope for ways to enact pedagogy – possibilities that are multiple, diverse, connected. My focus then, was to move beyond critiquing rigid and limiting pedagogical territorialisations to explore what some other possibilities of ways of imagining children, teaching and learning could be, and how these pedagogical possibilities were being imagined and enacted specifically in the early years of this primary school. The methodology was conceptualised through a metaphor of research praxis as listening, and methods of data creation drew primarily on emergent, arts-informed research and the Mosaic Approach (Clark & Moss, 2001) to researching with young children. I drew on the data created with/in the case-school community to argue that space and place, knowledge and subjectivities can be seen as elements of pedagogical practice that may have become territorialised, normalised, perceived as natural or inevitable ways of ‘doing’ school. Analysing this data illuminated the generative possibilities offered by the case school in deterritorialising and re-imagining and enacting these pedagogical elements through the refrains of movement, connectedness, openness, trust. By revealing that which was already taking place, and through exploring these material practices, lines of flight were revealed to ways of transforming how we might think about, imagine, hope for and enact new possibilities for pedagogy in the early years of primary school.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Sumsion, Jennifer, Principal Supervisor
  • Letts, Will, Principal Supervisor
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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