If teaching is understood as the transmission of knowledge, does that imply that knowledge can be "had"? And can we rethink pedagogy if we leave this conceptual metaphor (knowledge = possession) behind us? If we assume that knowledge is impossible to have, how does that affect the space of teaching, and authority itself? What becomes of the impossible desire to overcome our teachers, who are always "supposed to know" (Lacan)?
In the Phaedrus, Plato explains that knowledge cannot be thought, proposing a metaphor from agriculture to replace the metaphor that presents knowledge as a possession that can go from hand to hand. The good teacher, says Plato (Socrates), plants a seed that may grow into a tree. But do we really want our teachers to inseminate us? Can we try to think pedagogy without thinking of knowledge as a commodity or of teaching as an act of rape?
Avital Ronell explored these questions in a seminar called "Oedipedagogy," which I did not attend. But if there's any interest, I'd like to take up these themes in a class at The Public School. To me, due to its somewhat anti-hierarchical / anti-institutional nature, TPS seems the perfect place to explore the impossibility of teaching.
I'm willing to facilitate this class when I'm back in Germany (from the beginning of May), although for obvious reasons I cannot "teach" it. It might also be interesting to connect it with some of the threads that were meant to be explored in the Flatlands class (http://berlin.thepublicschool.org/class/2825), so it doesn't get all too theoretical - but I'm not very familiar with the initiatives mentioned in that class description.
There's a number of texts that we might read and discuss: Lacan on the 'subject supposed to know,' Ronell on Freud and Rat Man, Foucault on parrhesia, Ranciere's ignorant schoolmaster, Barenboim on music and the orchestra as a model for "equality within hierarchy," Derrida on parricide in Plato's Pharmakon, maybe Plato himself... Some fiction as well maybe... I have some more ideas, but don't want to compile a reading list; who knows what might come up.
The number of sessions will depend on the interest.