For the AECED project, responsive pedagogy means responsiveness to five interrelated aspects of education

The first is responsiveness and being attuned to education as a shared endeavour that involves shared responsibility. Educational relations, such as those between educator and learner, are viewed as interactive and jointly created. This means that learning is not a one-way route from teacher to learner. Rather, learning is an unfolding practice in which, at its best, educators, learners, peers and families become jointly responsible for a process in which all grow together.

The second, building on understanding education as a shared endeavour and responsibility, is responsiveness to education as a continual flow of reciprocal learning. By reciprocal learning, we mean education is a process that is mutually influential between educators, learners and others and that, through this mutual influence, education generates discovery, new experiences and growing awareness and understanding. For education to be a positive reciprocal process in this way requires the nurturing of trust and openness between all those involved; room both for mutual sharing and for different reactions and responses to emerge; and everyone, including learners, to be viewed not as passive objects to be acted upon, but as subjects – that is, as active doers. To be attuned and responsive to education as a continual flow of reciprocal learning involves exercising a caring attitude toward one’s own and others’ feelings and embodied reactions, and creating together educational spaces that are as safe and conducive to shared growth as possible.

The third is being aware of and attending to aesthetic and bodily responses – both our own and those of others, and how they interconnect between people. Reflexivity concerning aesthetic and bodily responses and awareness of people’s consequent sensory reciprocity, and the part all of this plays in learning, is integral to education. Learning as a shared endeavour and as a continual reciprocal flow means that the reflexivity of the educator concerning their situated aesthetic and bodily responses is as important as, for example, that of the learner.

The fourth is responsiveness to the cultural and contextual factors that create (both for good and ill) individual and social differences. This requires being alert and responding to circumstances and context and what these mean to people and how they feel and embody their selves and identities. A complex set of factors make up such circumstances and context. They include cultures, history, place, policy, and social positioning in terms of gender, social class, race and so on, and the ways in which these intersect with each other. Education involves considering how differently each person responds in and through their body for example, to the same conditions in the ‘now-moment’ of educational settings, and how such differences might be responded to.

The fifth is awareness of and openness to the possibilities of transcending the fixedness of ‘mine’ and ‘yours’. Responsive pedagogy views education as a shared endeavour and as reciprocal learning in which reflexivity concerning aesthetic and bodily responses is encouraged and valued. These features of education open up possibilities of experiencing, as fluid, the boundaries that separate us. Therein lies a potential for transcending a rigid separation of ‘mine’ and ‘yours’, which transforms people individually and collectively, and for creating genuinely democratic relations.


Further Reading

Collet-Sabé, J. & Ball, S. J. (2022): Beyond School. The challenge of co-producing and commoning a different episteme for education. Journal of Education Policy.

Culshaw, S. & Kurian, N. (2021) Love as the lifeblood of being-well, Pastoral Care in Education, 39(3), 269-290.

Docherty, T. (2006) Aesthetic Democracy, Stanford University Press.

Freire, P. (2005). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. 30th Anniversary edition (First published in 1970). Translated by M. Bergman Ramos. With an introduction by D. Macedo. The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc, New York, London.

Graham, L. P. (2021) “Safe Spaces” And “Brave Spaces”: The Case for Creating LawSchool Classrooms That Are Both. University of Miami Law Review, 76(1): 84–162.

Ha DiMuzio, S. (2022) Safe space vs. free speech: Unpacking a higher education curriculum controversy. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 1–25. DOI:

Haraway, D. 1988. Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies, 14(3), 575–599.

Oganisjana, K., & Ozols, R. (2019) Metakognitivitāte, domāšanas astoņi pīlāri un to ietekme uz indivīda rīcību. (Metacognition, the eight pillars of thinking and their impact on an individuals behavior). In Rekomendācijas konfliktu un problēmsituāciju risināšanai (Rekomendācijas konfliktu un problēmsituāciju risināšanai (Recommendations for solving conflicts and problem situations), (pp. 15-42). ESF project PuMPuRS.

Oganisjana, K., Steina, A., & Ozols, R. (2021). Action Research Trials (Arts) – Evaluation Report. Latvia. ENABLES. University of Hertfordshire.

Woods, P. A. and Roberts. A. (2018) Chapter 2.1, What is Collaborative Teacher Learning?, Erasmus+ EFFeCT Project, available at

Woods, P. A. and Roberts, A. (2018) Chapter 2.1 What is Collaborative Teacher Learning?, Erasmus+ EFFeCT Project, available at Chapter 2 (



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