The Craft of Teaching. Cultivating Uncertainty and Moving in Playfulness as Pedagogical Strategy


  • Lydia Arantes University of Graz



I have long tried to move away from teaching as “passing on knowledge” and moved towards practicing teaching as co-creating knowledge. I have come to regard teaching as a joint act of exploration, also taking into account students’ everyday life experiences. In the last academic year, I decided to expand my pedagogy by including playfulness. This required openness and vulnerability on behalf of me as the person developing the course as well as a new kind of engagement and involvement on behalf of my students. In doing so, the courses opened up space for making visible “epistemological journeys” (Arantes, 2021) and “liminal knowledges” (Burgos-Martinez, 2018). In this paper I give insights into some of the chosen approaches – of which a few involved playing with the idiom ‘business before pleasure’ – and reflect on their implications. I suggest that anthropology not only move within playfulness in the realm of research and representation but also on the level of teaching. Ultimately, I also reflect on what learning and teaching playfully and giving space to homo ludens (Huizinga, 1950) can teach us about the broader role of play for anthropology.