International Journal of Education & the Arts

Volume 15 Number 3

May 12, 2014

Between Signification and Illumination: Unfolding Understandings of an A/r/tographical Turn on Practicum

Mindy R. Carter
McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

Rita L. Irwin
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Citation: Carter, M. R., & Irwin, R. L. (2014). Between signification and illumination: Unfolding Understanding a/r/tographical turn on practicum. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 15(Number 3). Retrieved [date] from
School associates (SAs), or cooperating teachers (CTs), have arguably been one of the most powerful influences on the teacher candidates (TC) pre-service experience. For this reason, most studies about the practicum have focused on this relationship. However, while observing one visual art students practicum as her Faculty Advisor (FA) for the University of British Columbia (UBC), the significance and impact of art making on the SA and TCs relationship was observed. Creating art was what emerged as the pivot that the practicum was focused on, rather than the traditional Apprenticeship or Mentor formula (Graham, 2006). This hybrid relationship underscored how a/r/tographic inquiry provided the opportunity for the SA and TC to create art, to discuss teaching philosophies and pedagogical practices, and to change the practicum performance into an extra-out-of the-ordinary event. This paper explores how art making, living inquiry and the condition of relationality affected the relationship between a teacher candidate and her cooperating teacher on practicum. Systematic questioning, observation and the collection of data through interviews, reflective narrative writing and art making were methods used for understanding the a/r/tographical relationship that developed between the two participants. An analysis of the critical incidents that depicted how inquiry in the form of art making and collegial conversations strengthened this particular relationship and created reciprocity was then considered. In this way, we acknowledge how the practicum is an a/r/tographical event in which pedagogical and aesthetic relationality and inquiry initiate a long-term commitment to becoming as artists, teachers and researchers. Theoretically, this sense of becoming is understood and discussed through Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattaris (2007) interpretations and extensions of Antonin Artauds (1975) Body without Organs (BwO) conceptualization into what they call poles that swing between moments of immanence and signification. What is argued in this paper is that becoming an arts-teacher is a complex process that requires a continual shift and acceptance of multiple identities that may move between moments of signification and illumination. In this study, the shift from discussing the movement between signification and immanence (in Deleuze and Guattari) to signification and illumination is made because the authors felt that a greater understanding of ones teaching practice, art making and collegiality was understood during this research project but they did not feel as though it was possible to measure the participants metaphysical and immanent experiences. Rather, it is the movement between being and becoming an artist and an educator that brings deeper satisfaction to the TCs understandings of becoming pedagogical that is being explored.

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