A Question Concerning the Interpretation of Content

Before we move to week 4 of #rhizo15 I wanted to post about something that has been coming back around for me in the whole journey of “Content is People.”

What is to be said for the way that content is interpreted? I think that we often don’t take away what the person intended. How does this fit into the idea of content is people and what does it say about the nature of what many call content?

In many ways this is the same as the artist’s dilemma – the one where the artist paints a picture of a rabbit and someone comes along and says oh what a nice picture of a duck.

As teachers and learners how do we deal with the Gestalt of the everyday real world?

6 thoughts on “A Question Concerning the Interpretation of Content”

  1. yeah I think it’s a good call at this point – because of the way I’ve been ‘trained’ in SFLingustics, I take ‘content’ to be referring to the ideational meaning of a textual exchange, which is only ever part of the meaning being made, and as a ‘post structuralist’ I can’t see meaning as stable or ‘in’ the material but as an effect of difference amongst signifiers and as an experience that happens when people interpret – therefore, cannot ever be the ‘same’ meanings being made by different readers

  2. The interpretative element is critical … and what forms our own views/lens/interpretations of words and structures and concepts. Dave’s query seems to have made many of us think about the bad elements of the term “content” but in fact, the teaching of content allows us to dive deep into disciplines, to curate the important and to put ideas into perspective. Let’s keep our balance, too.
    🙂
    Kevin

    1. And it’s the interpretive element that requires us to share our understandings of the “content” as we grow meanings (and content) with particular communities. There is no end or object or thing. No One. Lots of “ands.”

  3. I’ve always been more interested in what sense learners make of content. So my studies have tended towards fields that are generally considered “applied” research or professional degrees, and my teaching has been project-based.

    1. Ah Lisa – you snuck in while I was responding to Kevin, Emily and Berry with a perfect example of what I am talking about. I think the teacher’s approach to interpretation is key to this week’s prompt – just when I thought this was a week 3 post. 🙂

      How much of the interpretation should come from the teacher and how much from the students? How can the teacher allow for self-discovery while at the same time guide students so that they don’t get to far off track?

  4. Emily, Kevin, and Barry – Thanks for your comments on this – all of you had me thinking about this pretty hard and that is why I’ve taken some time to respond. It seems to me that this interpretive element will also play a key role in this weeks prompt.

    What is the value of interpretations? What is the value of the interpretation of the teacher compared to that of the student? It seems that experience needs to stand for something. At the same time learners need to put a piece of themselves into the learning process. What does that balance look like?

    These are all crazy big questions that I have been asking myself prompted by your responses here. Thank you for posting and helping me query all of this.

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