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« Discipline as Body (Parts) I | Main | Discipline as Body (Parts) III »

October 07, 2019

Discipline as Body (Parts) II

By Aaron Knochel

In my last post I was musing about the emergent and playful quality of the exquisite corpse as a metaphor in creating new kinds of disciplinary bodies. STEAM, SEAD, transdisciplinarity—whatever it is that you are combining, I posit that the essence of possibility, or emergence, is the key to lively, relevant and responsive curriculum. Of course, what the exquisite corpse curriculum also needs is connection.

How are we stitching this Frankenstein together?

In order for STEAM to perform these layered pathways of the curriculum, the following is a list of proposals for STEAM connections. I offer the list in an intentional order to suggest skills (#1-3), habits or dispositions (#4-7), and larger themes (#8-10), but acknowledge that the suggested ascension of their importance may be out of proportion when taken in the context of a given instance of curriculum.

Let’s start with skills,

1) Observation

Observation is a core performance in STEAM. From observing the live figure model in a drawing class to noting the growth patterns of crystal formations in chemistry, many of the learning activities in a range of STEAM curricula rely on observation within their singular disciplinary spaces. Observation is important sensorial and technological data gathering that impacts modes of inquiry and project creation that continues to have a foundational place in the transdisciplinary learning of STEAM.

2) Measurement

Measurement is concerned with issues of quantity, scale and relationality. Many areas of STEAM curricula rely on measurement to build project work, improve outcomes, and understand relationships. Like observation, measurement continues to maintain prominence within the transdisciplinary learning of STEAM.

3) Peer Review & Referentiality

Established systems of peer review and referentiality are a foundation of many academic fields of knowledge, but the pathways of how these systems of feedback operate can be quite different. The central idea is that concepts are vetted within collectives creating feedback loops that produce criticality and refinement. These feedback loops actively build records of knowledge and experience through the sourcing of prior discovery, building upon established knowledge, and seeing nuance and difference in previously understood quantities and qualities. An anonymous peer review of a research manuscript and a critique of a portfolio of artwork may appear as very different modes of feedback, but they both embrace the importance of review, feedback, and critique in building a realm of ideas.

In the next post we’ll tackle habits or dispositions (#4-7).


Note: This series of blog posts is adapted from a much lengthier chapter for an edited book. Email me and I can send you the full copy or you can find it yourself:

Knochel, A. (2019). An exquisite corpse of curriculum: Transdisciplinarity, STEAM and Art Education [Chinese trans.]. In Y.Cooper (Ed., Trans.), On 21st Century Arts and Culture Education. Taipei, Taiwan: Hungyeh Publishing Co.


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