Design, Desire, and Dif ference

Kevin M. Leander, Gail Boldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In response to the rise in popularity of concepts of “design” in education research, pedagogy, and curriculum design, in this article we consider how the New London Group conceived of the role of student design practices as an outcome of pedagogy, as well as the parallel role of design in teaching practices. In this descriptive analysis, we foreground the function and presence of meta-language for the practices of students and teachers. We follow the parallels that are played out, in the pedagogical vision by New London, between students using a metalanguage to design texts and teachers using a metalanguage to design the contexts and experiences of students. We argue that although design is oriented toward something usable— the object made or produced— desire and difference show up as the life in the process itself. We move from an outline of design into a discussion of the role of desire and difference in pedagogy, and especially within the teacher-student relationship. We sketch how desire and difference, as interpreted through Deleuze and Guattari and others answers different questions and provides different resources for understanding pedagogy. Taken up together, the registers of design, desire, and difference breathe more life into teacher practice and student practice as relational: the differences created in their contact zone offer a rich and productive image of pedagogy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalTheory Into Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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