Bodies and affect in non-traditional learning spaces

McPherson, Amy and Saltmarsh, Sue (2017) Bodies and affect in non-traditional learning spaces. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 49 (8). ISSN 0013-1857


This paper considers the ‘knowledge economy’ as it is used in education rhetoric to establish social and educational consent for significant changes both to the spatial organisation of classrooms and their affective economies. We draw on ethnographic data from a study of ‘non-traditional classroom spaces’, where the spatial organisation of schooling emerged as a potential fulcrum through which the imaginary of the conventional primary classroom was being reconceptualised. Traditionally configured classroom spaces and the learning that takes place within them were being challenged and replaced by notions of twenty-first century learning in ‘agile’ learning environments. In the context of this reform agenda, these open-plan spaces were seen as offering new prospects for participation in a globally connected and competitive economic world that requires students to continuously adapt, innovate and respond creatively to a range of different problems. We consider how these everyday moments function as conceptual encounters between affective, embodied experiences and educational reform discourses that rationalise the implementation of non-traditional classroom spaces in ways that have very little to do with children and their futures. This cultural approach takes a step aside from numerous, and necessary, critiques of recent educational policies per se, in order to consider what might be learned from the uncanny spectres of child bodies that haunt them. The paper draws attention to examples of children’s affect in non-traditional classrooms and what that may tell us about current educational reform when sacrifice forms part of the missing account of educational reorganisation for the knowledge economy.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood (1 Jul 2013 - 30 Jun 2019)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood (1 Jul 2013 - 30 Jun 2019)
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2017 00:11
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2021 01:44
Uncontrolled Keywords: bodies; affect; knowledge economy; non-traditional classrooms
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130105 Primary Education (excl. Maori)
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields > 220202 History and Philosophy of Education
Fields of Research (2020): 39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390102 Curriculum and pedagogy theory and development
39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390304 Primary education
39 EDUCATION > 3902 Education policy, sociology and philosophy > 390202 History and philosophy of education
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930201 Pedagogy
C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9304 School/Institution > 930402 School/Institution Community and Environment
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