Discipline and Learn: Bodies, Pedagogy and Writing by Megan Watkins (auth.), Megan Watkins (eds.)

By Megan Watkins (auth.), Megan Watkins (eds.)

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On various occasions the teacher in this study has her class sing in unison and perform accompanying actions. Kamler et al. (1994, p. 107) see singing prior to school as a vehicle for pleasure but on entering kindergarten feel it is “transformed into a technique of power, whereby the teacher can get the group to look at her and be subject to her disciplinary gaze”. Undeniably this is the teacher’s intent yet it is not simply a technique to foster “a collective student body” 23 CHAPTER 1 important in terms of the development of a school habitus.

It is only through the incorporation of this bodily know-how, and disengagement from the very physicality of writing, that children possess the necessary cognitive capacity to focus more directly on the content of their work; the form and function of what 27 CHAPTER 1 they write. For learning in general this process of disengagement is ongoing, whereby what is learned retreats to the unconscious only to be accessed at point of need. Through the habituation of this scholarly technique children acquire a practical ability to write as well as a bodily disposition for learning.

Although not a focus here, their findings on gender differentiation provide useful insights into the formation of a scholarly habitus more generally. While Kamler et al. , 1994, p. 75). Gender is most obvious when it comes to issues of behaviour and discipline. Here Kamler et al. observe an imbalance because girls tend to be acknowledged in class for quietness and obedience whereas boys are singled out for poor behaviour, such as being rowdy. As a result, boys are highly visible whereas girls assume a certain invisibility within the class.

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