The Autopoietic Teacher

The Self-Emerging Teacher

Initial fractured thoughts

15 years after finishing my undergraduate degree I am moving towards the exploration of systems theories in relationship to learning and teaching in higher education. I have been drawn towards Kösel’s theory of Subjective Didactic* for all this time. However, I now regret not having been brave enough to use it before. This which drew me towards the theoretical framework was that Subjective Didactic is thus described as a Living System of autopoietic nature. While Kösel strongly refutes to enforce defining features (Wesensannahmen) for the theory he considers it an ever emerging system which in a dialectic sense holds contradicting viewpoints, thesis and anti-thesis within a dialogic space. He asks us as educators to sit with the contradictions. Providing space for negotiation, emergence, dialogue.

Very close to the nature of the proposed theory of Subjective Didactic is Debra Kidd’s book ‘Becoming Mobius’. She refers to the need for teachers to engage in autopoietic negotiations, and proposes that the rigid forms of linear, if-then relationships which aim–usually in the UK–to fulfill a constructively aligned curriculum neglect the dynamics of classroom interactions. The tight rope we walk as teachers (lecturers, tutors, professors, instructors–choose your label) between what is planned and what is eventually emergent, is the balance we keep of our own becoming.

On that Note

It’s rather challenging to put snippets of thought from a meandering mind into the not quite ready writing of this blog post. It is almost as if I would share snapshots of a road-trip through a three dimensional landscape without telling you anything about where I was. But I guess this post is as meta as it gets. On one side it does exactly what the writing a post every day idea is all about: write something, anything, as long as you write. On the other side it also is very much in character with the texts I refer to in these two paragraphs. Thoughts as junctions of a conceptualization exercise. Eventually the whole picture, a cartography of thought will emerge.

*Note: didactic in German speaking context refers to the approaches/theories of teaching

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.