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Abstract

The notion of pedagogy tends to be understood as the domain of teachers, this is a reductive way of thinking about pedagogy. Instead, in this paper I explore the heteroglossia of pedagogy through the Deleuzian-Guattarian notion of assemblage. Through this approach, pedagogy is an open debate which needs to involve students to co-create the learning environment in Higher Education (HE). Drawing on data collected with first year undergraduate students and through an action research methodological approach, I will argue that collaborative and progressive pedagogies in HE must go beyond the authority of the teacher and offer students in-class opportunities to negotiate the usual power relationships that characterise traditionalistic pedagogies. Whilst there is a stronger emphasis on engaging students differently in HE, it is important to also reflect on the dynamics that emerge from initiatives that seek to redress the pedagogical imbalances that the traditionalistic classroom perpetuates, such as enforcing a prescriptive curriculum where knowledge is transferable, inert and closely policed to satisfy performative regimes of assessment. I suggest that the notion of assemblages can help us understand the solidified and accepted classroom pedagogies as territories which are still normative in education, including HE, therefore, mapping out these territories open up possibilities for de-territorialisations.

Practitioner Notes

  1. Pedagogy as more than a rational method.
  2. Understanding pedagogy as an 'assemblage' allows for a more critical appreciation of its component parts, therefore allowing us to change it.
  3. Relations of power in the UK Higher Education sector is nuanced and pedagogy is now closely managed as part of a hierarchy. Creative pedagogies can offer both teachers and students more egalitarian dynamics in in the Higher Education classroom.
  4. Using Deleuze and Guattari to frame power through de-territorialisations serves two important purposes. Firstly, it outlines the inequalities within a 'territory', and secondly, it stimulates resistances and contestations to challenge established inequalities.
  5. Collaborations and co-creations can create meaningful learning.

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