The first insight provided by Dall’Alba’s text is in the pedagogical relationship and integration of knowing, acting and being. This has a special relevance to my own practice based as it is upon sound, listening and sonic practices of all kinds, all of which are inherently bodily and behavioural pedagogic (paragogic?) ontologies and epistemologies.
“Martin Heidegger (1998) points out that lack of attention to ontology has meant we ‘increasingly instrumentalise, professionalize, vocationalise, corporatise, and ultimately technologise education’ (Thomson, 2001, p. 244; emphasis in original; see Davies, 2003, for additional analysis of the trend to technologize universities) (Dall’Alba 2005:362)
“While the technologised state of higher education can be diagnosed as an ontological problem, a more central point for my argument here is that a focus on epistemology at the expense of ontology falls short of what higher education programs can, and are expected to, achieve (see also Heidegger, 1998; Barnett, 1997, 2004, and in preparation). For example, if we consider the transformation expected during transitions from student to doctor, economist, engineer, teacher and so on, it becomes apparent that knowledge and skills are not sufficient, in themselves. Knowledge and skills acquisition does not ensure skilful practice. This is not to deny the importance of knowledge and skills but, rather, to argue that their acquisition is insufficient for enacting skilful practice and for transformation of the self that achieving such practice inevitably involves. By focusing on epistemology, we fail to facilitate and support this transformation.” (ibid: 363)
The second correspondence, one of welcomed valued is Dall’Alba’s emphasis upon enhancement and transformation in the way one can understand what it is to be a university teacher and one’s own educational practice, which in my case has grown and developed contingently in a piecemeal fashion over 15 years professional employment in a wide range of different HE institutions.
Framing of the relational aspects of education is also hugely interesting; namely teaching involving a relationship amongst learners, teachers, the subject and environments. This clearly squares with my interest in the use of cybernetic, and neo-cybernetic theory in teaching and learning design in arts and design.
Context, as central element is highlighted. Although, aspects of Heidegger’s work are hugely problematic, certain aspects of his thinking I have found useful in many different domains of my teaching and he is cited by Dall’Alba’s at this juncture:
“Our very ‘being-in-the-world’ is shaped by the knowledge we pursue, uncover, and embody. [There is] a troubling sense in which it seems that we cannot help practicing what we know, since we are ‘always already’ implicitly shaped by our guiding metaphysical presuppositions.” (2001, p. 250) (in Dall’Alba 2005:363)
The vein of Heideggerian strand is expanded and this gives some great opportunity for reflection. An extensive quote is provided that outlines that teaching is even more difficult than learning, not because a teacher needs to have access to a greater range of knowledge resources but for what teaching entails to “to let learn” and “has to learn to let them learn” (ibid: 365).
“If you aren’t learning while you’re teaching, you aren’t teaching.” Frank McCourt