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Thursday, June 23 • 16:10 - 17:00
CON09.09 - Feelings of (dis)connection: positionality, emotions and the classroom

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Emotion is central to our experiences as teachers and learners. The oft sought after pedagogical goal of ‘engagement’ is a goal based on emotional investment in the learning process. In this session, we use emotions as a lens into the social relationships that facilitate students’ sense of belonging and subsequent engagement in the classroom. We draw upon Sara Ahmed’s work on emotions to move the conversation beyond individual experience and towards emotions as the embodied manifestations of social relations. In analysing emotional experiences in the classroom, this work challenges us to acknowledge how certain bodies (marked through signs of gender, sexuality, race, and other forms of difference) feel about other (differently marked) bodies is not just a reaction to individual personality but that is shaped by past histories of contact. We build upon Ahmed’s work with contributions from queer theory and critical race theory which make explicit the politicization of emotional connections in the classroom. In this session, we will draw upon the experiences of participants to collectively conceptualize the teaching encounter and teaching spaces as spaces of relationality in which positionality and emotion are key to how educational relationships ‘gel’ or not. We will open this session with a brief discussion of Sara Ahmed’s work and then lead participants through a structured reflection process with a series of prompts which will encourage individual writing on emotional experiences as both a teacher and a learner. In small groups and then as a larger collective, we will examine emergent themes and collectively develop strategies for incorporating the insights gathered during the workshop into classroom environments. This will all be done with the goal of understanding how emotions can be used to read the positionality of instructors and students as barriers (or facilitators) of student learning based on perceived social (dis)connections.


Nicole Laliberte

University of Toronto - Mississauga
Nicole Laliberte is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in the Department of Geography at the University of Toronto Mississauga. John Paul Catungal is a Lecturer at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia.

Thursday June 23, 2016 16:10 - 17:00 EDT
UCC 63