Pathic pedagogies as everyday work

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In this article, I use van Manen and Li's notion of pathic dimensions of pedagogy to reflect theoretically on one pattern of meaning - recognizing 'that' and 'what' is not understood - from my phenomenological study of moments teachers recognized and responded when students did not understand something during instruction. In short, the term pathic refers to felt, sensed, relational, and situational knowledges and practices. A pathic pedagogy assumes that acts of teaching depend on dimensions such as relational perceptiveness and tact for knowing what to say and do in contingent situations. Through this theoretical reflection I assert that pathic pedagogies are often, as Luke reminds us, embedded in some of the most ordinary and everyday work that teachers experience - such as moments when students do not understand something during instruction. With this in mind, I use selected aspects of the pattern to momentarily 'disembed' this everyday practice in order to amplify pathic pedagogies - suggesting that teachers must continually wonder about and pursue their students' understanding. I close by asking those who work with teachers to consider the same in their everyday work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-152
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010


  • Phenomenology
  • Qualitative research
  • Teacher education
  • Teacher perceptivity


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