Play is the (Missing) Thing
Routledge – 2013 – 126 pages
The central theme of Curricular Conversations is this: Play is the thing that brings aesthetic curricular complications near educators and their students, making the lived consequences very vivid, tangible, and possible. Viewing curriculum as genuine inquiry into what is worth knowing, rather than simply a curricular document, this book explores the significances instilled and nurtured through aesthetic play. Each chapter delves into the space a given artwork reveals. The artworks act as points of departure and/or generative vehicles, foregrounding the roles and possibilities of play within curricular conversations. Looking at relevant educational issues, traditions, and theorists through an illuminating lens, this book speaks to curriculum theorists and arts educators everywhere.
"Margaret Latta has written an important new book on the place of play, hermeneutics, and aesthetics in relation to curriculum. In her book Latta provides a detailed and well-examined exploration of the relationship between these perhaps seemingly non-curriculum-entities (play, hermeneutics, and aesthetics) and curriculum itself."
—Donald Blumenfeld-Jones, International Journal of Education & the Arts, 14(Review 2)
"Margaret Macintyre Latta draws on curriculum theory, philosophy, and the work of artists to develop a wide-ranging notion of play and its place in educational practice. Latta helps readers see what successful teachers, artists, scholars, parents, and others have long known: that play and seriousness walk hand-in-hand in creative human endeavors."
—David T. Hansen, Teachers College, Columbia University, USA
"Margaret Macintyre Latta urges as to conceive curriculum as a playful, emergent, and ever-evolving co-creation of meaning and value in a world without start or stop. Thus conceived each student creates their own circuitous way in awe, wonder, and joy as they move along in the company of teachers, other students, and the whole diverse community including those that only await the call of imagination to join the journey."
—Jim Garrison, Virginia Tech, USA
"For Margaret Macintyre Latta, aesthetic play is all about learners being and becoming creators of meaning. In this book, seemingly without effort, she leads us into our potential and the potential of society, to rise above the mis-educative experiences dominating our education today…. and convinces us of the necessity of aesthetic play to awaken the artistic and meaning-making spirit in each of us."
—Rita Irwin, University of British Columbia, Canada
"Macintyre Latta offers a model of what the playful engagement with the world that is the center of arts experience can offer to teaching and learning in all disciplines. Featuring a selection of works of art that provide openings to the possibilities of aesthetics and play, Latta’s text provides a compelling alternative to impoverished views of education that dominate contemporary calls for educational reform."
—Christine Marmé Thompson, The Pennsylvania State University, USA
List of Illustrations
Chapter 1—Introduction: Aesthetic Play Matters to Curricular Conversations
Chapter 2—Aesthetic Play: "Force of the Possible"
Chapter 3—Aesthetic Play: Elemental to Being Human
Chapter 4—Aesthetic Play: Embracing of Place
Chapter 5—Aesthetic Play: In Need of Other(s)
Chapter 6—Aesthetic Play: Temporal Spatial Agency
Chapter 7—Aesthetic Play: Interdependent with Imagination, Instilling Embodied Understandings
Chapter 8—Aesthetic Play: Attunement to Process
Chapter 9—Aesthetic Play: Fostering Self-Understandings in Relation to Wider Contexts & Citizenry
Chapter 10—Conclusion: Aesthetic Play’s Clues, "Unquiet" Understandings, & the Makings of Self/World
Margaret Macintyre Latta is a Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, & Teacher Education, College of Education & Human Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA.