Misbehave!

Although January is almost finished, happy new year! Hope you’ve had a good start for 2016.

It’s been far too long since my last post, and it’s not because I don’t have anything to say, but simply because things have been pretty hectic. You know, conference submissions, writing and reading, planning teaching, admin stuff, planning study trips, catching up with people…all essential elements of the kind of work I just love.

Speaking of love, I found myself thinking about holding hands and kissing in public. And especially in contexts where it might not be approved.

So. Close your eyes now and imagine you’re with your partner walking in the streets of Tokyo. What do you do? KISS AND HOLD HANDS.

If you feel like it, of course. Maybe this analogy was a bit shaky for two reasons: 1) it’s not *that* bad to kiss in public in Tokyo and 2) I’m not being normative here in the sense that lovers should overtly show affection in public (only if they feel like it or are just simply too horny to wait to get back home…).

Having said that, I’m trying to connect this attitude – going against the stream – to how we educate our students. Or how we behave in workplaces. Let’s call it respectful misbehavior. One of the reasons, in addition to kissing in public, I started thinking about this was a book I’m currently reading (thanks for the tip, Paula!), and to me misbehavior in education and workplaces makes total sense because otherwise we simply aren’t witnessing any personal growth. I mean think about it, if we all blindly follow our habits – and even worse, impose those to our students and peers – how can we became better as individuals?

But there’s a catch here. Misbehavior doesn’t work as a standalone act: peeing into your colleague’s coffee mug doesn’t make much sense if you don’t explain to them afterwards why you decided to do it. And that’s the point of respectful misbehavior (although I’m not suggesting people should now start peeing in coffee mugs): blind spots (in individuals, societies, communities, etc.) aren’t noticed if we don’t challenge and question the norms.

Another interesting example is Jani Leinonen’s recent book based on his exhibition the School of Disobedience (thanks for the book, Krista!) that offers interesting insights and tools on how to misbehave. Brilliant!

Thus, what should we as educators teach to our students? You guessed it, respectful misbehavior!     

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