Walking & Drawing

How might the strategies of Walking and Drawing be considered useful pedagogical tools within the context of Critical Pedagogy?

Considering the strategies of walking and drawing as a pedagogical tool has raised many questions and lines of enquiry. Walking is a constant in my daily life, and provides welcome respite from other everyday chores, it’s an opportunity to engage with whatever is occupying my mind. At its most basic walking is an essential tool for me as an educator to gather my thoughts and take ideas forward.

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Exploring the concept further I have begun to reflect on Ingold’s ideas of ‘fragmentation’ (Ingold, 2007). Recently within my context we have been considering curriculum development and how to ensure that every child coming through our schools follows a meaningful journey of exploration which ensures they achieve their potential. In essence what we are aiming for is to develop opportunities for ‘wayfarers’ (Ingold, 2007). Preistly and Humes acknowledge A.V. Kelly’s (1999) assertion of the importance behind the underlying ideology of any planning method. Offering three models of curriculum planning it is perhaps the ‘Process curricula’ they describe that has the most obvious affiliation to a wayfaring journey.

Process curricula are based upon intrinsic principles and procedures rather than upon extrinsic objectives. Typically, they are predicated around a view of what an autonomous adult should be and a learning process (often dialogical, inquiry-based and experiential) that may serve as the route to achieving this state.
(Priestley M & Humes W, 2010, P10)
Similarly Atkinson emphasises ‘immanence of learning’

The importance of a process which should remain open to possibilities and potentials that arise within the action and practice of learning and not be tied to specific aims except, of course, becoming a more effective learner (Atkinson 2011, p. 3).

When developing our curriculum how often do we set out to provide opportunities for wayfaring, encouraging pupils to sustain themselves through active engagement? (Ingold, 2007, P76). And how often are we actually ‘fragmenting’ pupils wayfaring lines, by providing a disjointed series of dots in our ‘pre-composed plot’?

Another train of thought moved my thinking towards the practical application of walking and drawing as a pedagogical tool. Last year I undertook a course exploring outdoor learning, I was particularly keen to explore the opportunities beyond ‘tokenistic’ forays outside and to develop regular, meaningful, curricular experiences beyond the classroom. The importance of ‘place’ was quickly highlighted as a key element when planning for outdoor learning. We were challenged to think about learning opportunities within the broad categories of place-ambivalent, place-sensitive, place-essential (Mannion, G., Fenwick, A., Nugent, C., and I’Anson, J. P26, 2011). Within ‘place essential’ learning, the space, the pathways, the journeys become the focus rather than simply a background for the task. For example a well trodden path around the school grounds suddenly evolves into an opportunity to develop an imaginative story based on an invented ‘critter’. Both pupils and staff begin to look at their immediate environment with fresh eyes and opportunities for recording journeys and engaging with spaces in a different way emerge.

Atkinson, D. (2011) Art, Equality and Learning: Pedagogies Against the State, Rotterdam: Sense.

Ingold, T. (2008) Up, across and along, in Ingold, T. Lines A Brief History, London: Routledge

Mannion, G., Fenwick, A., Nugent, C., and I’Anson, J. (2011) Teaching in nature. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 476

Mc. Auliffe, D. (2015) Hanging Out in Teacher Education Seminar, School of Education, Glasgow :University of the West of Scotland. [Online] Available: https://vimeo.com/channels/877074

Priestley M & Humes W (2010) The development of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence: Amnesia and Déjà Vu, Oxford Review of Education, 36 (3), pp. 345-361. Available: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/2110

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