Reflections on texts by Vilhauer and Munday


Chapter 3, Understanding Art: The Play of Work and Spectator by Vilhauer

The concept of serious play that Gadamer describes in this text is important in my context of large group teachings.

I give my students the freedom to ask questions while I am delivering a lecture. I encourage them to do so. This allows them to engage quickly in the knowledge and allows me to gauge if they have been listening and reflecting. I think this participation is an important part of play. This will encourage students to experiment and be bold when doing it.

According to Gadamer, human play reaches it’s ultimate complete form in the work of art. Initially, I thought this was a good example as I relate this to the visuals that I use to show students when describing an issue in teaching. Later on, I also started to experiment/use movies or moving imagery to highlight the context. This act now becomes a “play” which is acted out in a very clear  and dominating manner where it becomes “real”

So once you have experienced the “play”, you would be able to relate that to your peers and initiate a further discussion.  This would mean that what I have shown earlier has made an impression and they would perhaps investigate further.

The classroom: a problem or a mystery? by Dr Ian Munday

This is a more recent and easier to understand text/concept on the factors that surround current teaching phenomenology(IMO)

An issue that always bothers me is that large group lectures (80-100 students) that I give once/twice each week (6-7 weeks total) can be very disruptive for their current projects. Hence I have started to look at how I can align some of my teachings to the project work that they are doing now.

Almost at the end of my lecture, there would be silence when I ask : “If you have any more questions ?” And then followed by applauses at the end… ( Since then, I have questioned myself:  Why do I ask? and if there is a way to get feedback from students without even asking?)

So when I see the title of this text, the silence sort of makes me think that I might have a problem with my lecture hence its silent at the end. For me that is still a mystery i have yet to find out….

In the text, he mentioned Gabriel Marcel’s concepts of “Being and Having“ which is a good way to explain my sentiments.

I see “Being” as an experience. This can be temporary and it can be ritual that the student experiences almost everyday when he learns something new/important. “Having” the knowledge acquired is not  important any more and a student will start to generate new thoughts and ideas using these as a starting point.

The text ends with a notion that describes a certain freedom which allows creativity to happen. Instead of containing and regulating the classroom, a bit of uncertainty and mystery might help spark creativity. This echoes Gadamer’s text earlier.

I have known the usefulness of a lesson plan and I should sometimes allow some flexibility and play in it to encourage engagement and learning.

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