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March 19 2011

Pedagogy of the Possessed: Teaching and Learning in Buffy. What does the show have to say about education theory?

School is hard?
Interesting, though the writer missed one of the most powerful teaching moments. In The Body, Dawn is in an art lesson when Buffy comes to break the news to her. The teacher is emphasising the importance of "negative space" around the figure - a human figure - as the students draw. As a meta-metaphor for the theme of the episode it can't really be beaten.
Can you elaborate on that a bit more, Gill? I'm not totally getting it, and I feel dumb lol
If I may. At that point, Dawny's life is empty, filled with void. Making eyes with a possible boy-toy, she sees a path to normality. Then, big sis drops in with a big dose of reality.

Anyway, it's that emptiest we're speaking.
For me, since negative space is everything that is around the body and not the body itself, the metaphor has to do with all the actions and reactions going on with all the people who surrounded and loved Joyce. It is, as Gill said, the perfect meta-metaphor for the episode.
Palehorse, yes, that's exactly what I meant. The entire episode is about the way Joyce is defined by those around her and their reactions to her death. She is the body, but the focus is on what is around the body, the grieving and bewildered people who are not her. Anya's speech is particularly powerful seen in that context.

I hope that makes sense, GilesQueen - the teacher talks about how you can most accurately define and represent a body by what is around it.
Some excellent stuff in there. Hadn't ever looked at it from a pedagogical angle, but yes, absolutely: the Watcher's Council (and Snyder) want Buffy to become what they want; Giles eventually comes see that the way forward is to help Buffy become what she wants. Which is, at bottom, the primary dichotomy in education today -- and actually a lot of the reason why American high school is hell!
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a brilliant metaphor for autodidacticism. And I, an ardent supporter of self-directed learning, never picked up on it. Indeed I am ashamed.
[ edited by RCM on 2011-03-20 08:18 ]

[ edited by RCM on 2011-03-20 08:20 ]
ManEnoughToAdmitIt - American high school is hell because it's full of American teenagers.
I've attended classes in English and German high schools and taught in Japanese and Korean high schools and can honestly say none of them seem any less hellish.
I dunno. I just got back from a conference on education and research, and see this article not so much about pedagological aspects of education, but sort of an overview of education in Buffy. When you bring it down to base level, the actual formal teaching in Buffy is anything but novel- teachers (and later professors) who are autocratic and belittle students, formal lecture halls with bored students in them, little use of technology outside of computers which only the cognoscenti know how to use (witness Willow telling Cordelia how to "save" a file...). We see no alternative methods of teaching, no team-based approaches, no collaborative approaches, no problem-based approaches, etc. The use of teaching is actually used more as a foil for the "real" education Buffy and friends get by immersing themselves in what they do.

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