Teaching in the Rainforest: Exploring Matses Childrens Affective Engagement and Multisensory Experiences in the Classroom Environment

  • Camilla Morelli


This paper focuses on Matses children of Peruvian Amazonia and their experiences of formal schooling. Scholars working in Amazonia have emphasised the dysfunctional role of schools in Amerindian societies, suggesting that formal education is predicated upon parameters of learning that often contradict and challenge native understandings. This work, however, largely overlooked childrens lived experience and affective encounters in the classroom, and this is the main focus of this paper. Starting from my own teaching activity in an Amazonian school, I discuss certain problems and failures of schooling with regard to childrens perceptions and lived activities. I suggest that teaching in the field may provide valuable findings on how to enhance the pedagogical possibilities for formal learning and develop creative pedagogical methods. I argue that by recognising learning as a whole bodily and sensorial experience, and acknowledging the emotions of students and teachers, the pedagogical endeavour and results can be creatively enhanced. This does not only apply to schooling indigenous children in the field, but to teaching in general, including the teaching of anthropology in academic environments.

Author Biography

Camilla Morelli