Following the logic of my previous two posts, our everyday lives now contain much that we experience as meaninglessness. Berardi (2015) describes the process as a change from “conjunctive” to “connective” communication. The “conjunctive” is a sphere that includes a lot of non-linguistic content that arises from the experience of being alive, and of sharing a common humanity with your fellow speakers. The “connective” is a new way of communicating caused by the increasing abstraction of our lives and the factors mentioned last week. Historically, Berardi sees it as a result of mechanisation, puritanism and the founding of a new society in the New World.

Compared with everyday life, the classroom is a place where interactions can become even less satisfying than they are outside it. I’d like to address two important reasons:

(a) technological. The classroom is often organised to create a “disciplinary” or “panoptic” system, where the teacher can see all the students’ faces but the students are mostly expected to look forwards at the teacher or the board.

This immediately creates a power difference in the classroom which interferes with the interaction. A good teacher should always think about the way materials are presented and the way seating is organised to allow more flexible communications. Classrooms of the future will apply procedures from the technology of “control” (Deleuze, 1992) rather than that of discipline.

(b) pedagogical. Learning a language involves quite a lot of repetition. But if this is carried too far it can result in semantic satiation.

The best solution for this is spaced repetition – when you try to repeat new structures only at the moment when they are about to be forgotten. This way you strengthen recall and stop the meaning draining away.
(Panopticon icon created by Gregor Cresnar, from the Noun Project)

Berardi, F. (2015). And: Phenomenology of the End: Sensibility and Connective Mutation. Semiotext (e) South Pasadena, CA.
Deleuze, G. (1992). Postscript on the Societies of Control. October, 59, 3–7.