In the teaching spaces we inhabit

“If anyone on the verge of action should judge himself according to the outcome, he would never begin.” (Kierkegaard, 1985 in Blake et al 2006 ).

This year the PGCE Drama trainees created an instillation as an alternative way of sharing their experiences and reflections on the past nine months, including the enrichment phase of the programme that takes place at the end of the academic year and is designed to enhance the students’ profile. We invited staff and students from the Faculty of Education to share the experience with us Wednesday 14th June 2017.

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It has been a difficult year for education as many schools have faced severe cuts to their already stretched budgets. There is no doubt that these cuts have affected job prospects within the arts subjects and many of this year’s cohort leave us without secure employment for the first time in years. In addition to the pressures of school life and academic study, the world around us seems to have become a very strange and scary place. We felt we wanted to create a space that might enable the students to place their experiences in a context that both reflects these uncertain times and to help us all to express the myriad of emotions that we are dealing with. In addition, we wanted to explore alternatives to written reflection that at this current time dominates this element of the PGCE programme.

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The instillation was a culmination of a series of reflective activities that have taken place throughout the PGCE programme 2016 to 2017. We see drama as an aesthetic-affective mode of communication in which affective states arise from activity through an embodied awareness in action. In ‘the teaching spaces we inhabit’ human feelings and sensations are generated by notions of power but also by desire, environmental space and time (Patterson, 2016). In offering students the opportunity to reflect in this way, Alison Ramsay and I are hoping to explore their responses as part of our ongoing research into alternative and performative modes of reflective practice. Our aim is to explore the possibility of creating pedagogical environments that enable beginning teachers to thrive in situations of uncertainty whilst being encouraged to become cognisant of the affective nature of experience.

Rebecca Patterson, Senior Lecturer in Education, MMU


Blake, N., Smeyers, P., Smith, R., Standish, P (2006 ). Education in an Age of Nihilism: Education and Moral Standards.

Patterson, R. (2016) ‘Tractatus de Imagine Mundi’. Unpublished Thesis.

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