Building Teacherly Roles Together

An A/r/tographic Exploration of Agency in Constructivist Learning


  • Peter Stanley Kingston Plymouth College of Art



A/r/tography, artistic practice, collaboration, community learning, constructivism, cultural/educational democracy, teacherly role


Given that learner agency in making meaning from subjective learning experiences is central to constructivism, how can teachers provide structure without diminishing that agency? This paper comprises an a/r/tographic analysis of a practice-based research project situated outside formal education, which shares the teacher’s role across a community learning group. This group collectively chose and researched a new topic for each session, sharing this research in session and discussing the lesson this made. This model not only provides the basis for a consensual education, but also offers opportunity for empowerment through collectively taking ownership of learning, demonstrating that as engaged learners we can shape the structures through which we build learning agency. As education and culture shape each other, so learners emerge as critical citizens able to re/form community and culture for mutual benefit, open in turn to being re/formed by them.

Understanding learning as a creative process, this paper juxtaposes Gert Biesta’s concept of creative practice as a dialogue with the world against the re-emergent concept of cultural democracy. Education re/produces cultural values; by not assuming control of learners’ education for them – by not inhabiting the role of teacher – we do not diminish the space for new, emergent structures to be realised. This paper seeks to show that by performing the teacher’s functions between us, we increase our intrinsic motivation for learning, also allowing for possibilities of new knowledge emerging. As will be shown, constructivism needs no singular teachers, only people to learn alongside and share the practice of learning with.




How to Cite

Kingston, P. S. (2021). Building Teacherly Roles Together: An A/r/tographic Exploration of Agency in Constructivist Learning. Airea: Arts and Interdisciplinary Research, (3), 66–81.