This poster is an attempt to visually summarize my evolving approach to designing and enacting effortful and engaging courses which seek to introduce students to a new area of inquiry, in this specific case, curriculum studies for mathematics for teaching (M4T). I call this scalable heuristic model a ‘kumbla’. The enacted philosophy is a “Mindful Awareness of the Complexities and Intervulnerabilities of Learning Bodies.” This final concept refers to the inter-related co-evolutionary dynamics of the differentiated embodiments of a disciplinary field in terms of its people, places, thoughts, and things (synoptic/ synaptic texts, handbooks, encyclopaedias etc.) analogous to a saccadic-like travelling across, among and between endowebs through ego-, edu- and eco-webs.
The poster is designed to ‘reward’ close, detailed, iterative and elaborative study and to raise questions about differences in visual competence and media literacies among members of diverse viewing audiences. The initial reaction is expected to be an aesthetic one: immediate, visceral, anxiety inducing, pleasurable, perhaps somewhat disorienting and discomforting. Orienteering devices in the form of envisualization mnemonics are provided to help in ‘decoding’ the poster at the level as an artefact of/for visual communication. These include the fractal (bifurcating) tree, the coloured nested circles (with blurred boundaries), network-type diagrams, and the scattered ‘breadcrumb’ or ‘ant’ trails.
One of the main design principles in the course and in the poster is founded upon learning systems research from information theoretic through neuro-affective and bio-psycho-socio-cultural approaches on the desire for and pursuit of satisficing and simplexic patterns of organization that are (thermodynamically) efficient and (cognitively) effective. This principle is that of not fully determinate, ‘strewing’. Like the course, the poster illustrates the possibility of a polyglot of meaning making in a heterotopic landscape strewn with curricular embodiments in which one must orienteer, picking up and following rhizomatic Ariadne threads, construing for oneself in unfolding conversations with others.
In this poster one can locate specific, if not explicit, heteroglossic palimpsests of influences of curriculum theorists eg. Tyler, Huebner, Eisner, Greene, Pinar, (William) Doll , Egan, Illich and (Brent) Davis (among others) as well as that of learning scientists like Csikszentmihalyi, D’Amasio, Dehaene, Gardner, (Ernst) Mayr and Vygotsky (among others), cultural critics such as (Lloyd) Best, (Stuart) Hall (among others) and artistic influences of (Leroy) Clarke and (Peter) Minshall.
The poster is also an enactment/embodiment of critique at several levels. At a personal/ autobiographical level, it is my response to experiences of dis/orientation, alienation, sterility, impoverishment and barrenness of curriculum studies courses as I’ve experienced them at times and offers a mythopoethic response. At the level of academic cultures it serves to critique (while simultaneously participating in) the attention economies and position in the hierarchy of privilege of ‘genres’ and ‘types’ of conference sessions.
This poster is neither for easy nor quick consumption. Through it I invite the question of whether it, and by extension academic posters as a genre, deserve the same expenditure of time and effort as one might give to a paper, and the reflexive justificatory question of “Why?”
Steven K. Khan
EDCP doctoral student