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Commentary on Alcorn & Massé: troubling pedagogy

Author(s): Michael O’Loughlin

Journal: ETD : Educação Temática Digital
ISSN 1676-2592

Volume: 13;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 252;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Depth pedagogy. Pedagogy of unconscious. Psychoanalysis. Refusal. Resistance. Impossible profession.

Responding to papers by Michelle Massé and Marshall Alcorn, I begin with an argument for the need to recognize ignorance as performative rather than merely as illustrative of student resistance in some pathological sense. I then explore the Lacanian notion that teachers develop imaginary suppositions about the lack in their students, and that these suppositions support rescue fantasies among teachers that are related to bolstering their own unconscious need for narcissistic gratification and love. I conclude by showing how these ideas resonate with my own autobiographical history as a teacher, as well as with key ideas in the two papers under discussion, and I commend both authors for opening up a valuable discussion of teaching as an “impossible profession”.
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