Teaching against the Grain: Texts for a Pedagogy of Possibility

By Roger I. Simon | Go to book overview

5
The Fear of Theory

It is necessary, says Freud, to interpret the phenomenon of doubt as an integral part of the message.

Jacques Lacan1

What is quite consistently made marginal for most people is any sense that they already know more than they think they know. The standardization of both kinds and forms of knowledge and the proper manner of their behavioural expression in educational practices and experiences is but the most visible instance of a quite general consequence of the regulation of social forms.

Philip Corrigan2

The countenance of fear and hope are turned toward the same horizon. Hope is directed toward the future through its goal of effecting practical changes in the world, 3 while fear anticipates an experience of negation or destruction. Those of us who teach, in sites ranging from elementary to graduate school, face numerous students whose entry into the classroom initiates the volatile mix of the expectant emotions of fear and hope. What is it in an educational encounter that provokes these emotions? How should we understand this provocation and what does this provocation tell us about the problems of formulating a pedagogy of possibility?

I wish to put aside at the outset that portion of student fear and hope instigated by the adventure of new social encounters, for example, the

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