In this essay, we reflect on the emergence of our (new) teacher identities from the phenomenal space created within online learning, following the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. Thrust from classrooms into in-between spaces mediated by digital technologies, the capricious co-inhabited new learning space functioned as a becoming-other space of identity-play, surfacing from centrifugal intra-actions among human, non-human, and inorganic entities and energies—what we have named a thinning space (authors, forthcoming). It called for becoming shapeshifters together through resisting crystallized roles and (re)claiming a multiplicity of vulnerable thin skins. We draw from the possibilities of existing virtual gaming spaces to propose that a thinning space towards freer learning could redefine current neoliberal conceptions of ‘normal’ education.

Author Biography

Bianca Licata

Bianca Licata is a doctoral student in the department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College. She explores the ways melancholic systems of power monstrocize youth of color, particularly within charter school systems, and the ways both youth (and teachers!) resist through care, joy, and conviviality. She draws on critical auto/ethnographic methodologies to explore these points of conflict, and how they might (re)center student voice in curriculum and teaching.

Catherine Cheng Stahl

Catherine Cheng Stahl is a doctoral student in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College. Her research explores in-between time-spaces of youth identity work and belonging in, through, and across digital spaces. She engages in multimodal and auto/ethnographic methodologies to elevate youth digital identities through exploring the complex ways young people perform self and negotiate belonging in technology-mediated worlds.



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