The secret art of pedagogical alchemy


Pedagogical alchemy
Teacher resistance
Critical praxis research
Reflective practice

How to Cite

Wood, C. 2022. The secret art of pedagogical alchemy: Creating joy, resistance and hope in neoliberal times. Open Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. 2, 1 (Oct. 2022), 1–21. DOI:


This paper reveals secrets. Like their Renaissance counterparts, pedagogical alchemists often work in secret networks as they struggle against dominant forces. Pedagogical alchemists seek to transform assemblages of neoliberal education policies, shifting enactments of such policies from replication of systemic hierarchies and oppressions towards teacher and student experiences of joy, hope, and resistance. The secret art of pedagogical alchemy adopts critical praxis research method that amplifies epistemological insights arising from teacher experience. This paper utilizes performative autoethnography and social fiction to interrogate the influence of socio-political context on the labour of an 8th grade school-teacher. The secret art of pedagogical alchemy locates the experiences of a pedagogical alchemist whose 8th grade history class includes a unit of work on Renaissance alchemist Isabella Cortese. The experiences are framed by globalised, neo-liberal education policy assemblage. Like the writings of Renaissance alchemist, Isabella Cortese, the voice of the 8th grade history pedagogical alchemist is performed in quatrains that are written in iambic pentameter.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Craig Wood