Episode 1.2: We Are The Tomato
Today’s keyword is “iteration.” Our exploration into the artistry of teaching moves to the terrain of a thought experiment: what happens when a teacher confronts their own set of teaching practices (their sleights of hand, their design choices)? Do they risk the very suspension of belief that is vital to teaching? In this episode, “We Are The Tomato,” Ada discloses her own tomato—by way of sharing the learning curves involved with audio-creation. We hear from two podcasting-teachers, Meg Wilcox and Alexander Kim. And we encounter the impact of design, like the role played by microphones and the activity of editing voices. Patrick Imbrogno, a recent graduate from Mount Royal University, reflects on the experience of creating audio as a student. Iteration, according to this episode, is essential for teaching, and yet its ethical and existential stakes are tremendous.
Episode 1.1: Tomatoes in the Classroom
Today’s keyword is Tomatoes. There is a peculiarity to classrooms that is rarely noticed. It involves tomatoes, the weird and wonderful (and occasionally woeful) techniques that professors deploy in order to spark learning in their classrooms. This episode explores the artistry of teaching practices. Erin Manning reflects poignantly on the risky practices at the heart of teaching, giving voice to the tagline of this podcast project: “listening for things we don’t know how to listen for.” Namrata Mitra’s depictions of tomatoes open up the macabre, as well as the truly nutritious, dynamics of classrooms. Kyle Kinaschuk, a grad student in Toronto, shares a stunning portrait of a tomato. And Kaitlin Rothberger, the podcast’s undergrad field reporter, identifies what might be the best kind of tomato. This is the first of a series of episodes, facilitated by Ada Jaarsma, that tracks and explores the design work at play within classrooms. .
Today’s keyword is Ontogeny. This is the podcast’s pre-episode, shared here in the spirit of “starting in the middle.”
If there is no “learning gene,” then how does learning actually take place? This pre-episode looks to evolutionary science for an answer, introducing a concept—and today’s keyword, ONTOGENY— that opens up the philosophical stakes of classrooms. Ada talks to Erin Manning, whose writings on radical pedagogy inspired the creation of this podcast. Patricia Pardo sums up the import of ontogeny for transforming classrooms into accessible spaces. And two recent graduates, Joy Hodgson and Laura Grant, muse about the challenges of classrooms for students.
Here are some of the episodes that are underway in our short series on design:
Bruised Tomatoes: teachers might well deploy their own teaching designs in the classroom, but it is students who navigate these designs with varying degrees of interest. If the classroom is a scientific space, then according to philosophers of science Isabelle Stengers and Vincianne Despret, good science only takes place when students act like non-conforming users. This episode invites undergrads to reflect on what’s at stake in becoming articulate and recalcitrant students.
Tomatoes in their Gardens: each teacher has a tomato, but tomatoes emerge in highly specific ecological contexts. This episode turns to grad students who share incisive analyses of “gardens”: the curricular, canonical and programmatic commitments that shape (but don’t determine) what goes down in particular classrooms.
Our next series of episodes will track and explore algorithms: what do algorithms want in the classroom? This will be our animating question for the series.