Of Two Minds Review -- New Teaching: Toward a Pedagogy for a New Cosmology

Toward a Pedagogy for a New Cosmology

This final essay in the section finds stability through addressing the world of the teacher. Joyce takes what he has been talking about in the previous two essays and relates it to the classroom and the spaces we inhabit as teachers and learners.

"We face a new world when we teach. There is no news here, for it has been ever so. Despite what we have thought of ourselves or our students, they remake us as we remake them, in reciprocal relation: no student who is not a teacher, no teacher not a student, no morning not new, at least to someone" (117).

In shaping this new world, and ourselves being reshaped, Joyce suggests that it might ease our discomfort if we adapt "old terms for new things, old roles for new ways" (120). He proposes that the roles of scholar, teacher, and communicator are appropriate for the new ways of teaching.

By scholar, Joyce means a discipline specialist--but he would add multi as a prefix. "I want to suggest that the role of unidisciplinary specialist is in many ways uniquely tied to print culture and thus imperilled in this 'late age of print'" (120).

He would likewise cast the role of teacher as a kind of learning manager, reclaiming the word manager from the business class and "redeeming" it in its former sense of "preservation, rather than in the perverted state of channeling or consuming human resources." He equates management with making do.

"Thus, learning management is colearning, a constructive action to preserve what is coming to be known. In such a process hierarchy truly is doomed because it is before anything else a search structure, a way to keep track of what you think you own, and not an area for reciprocal power like a hypertext, computer network, or collaborative classroom" (121).

By the same token, Joyce talks about communication being a building act, "part of the social fabric rather than the product of consumption" (123). He would have us talk with our students rather than at them, reciting tired histories in disengaged pedantic flurries. Hypertext technology allows us the opportunity to "teach ourselves how to communicate anew" (125).