Enhancing learning and teaching about mental health across the disciplines
Medical discourse currently dominates as the defining framework for madness in educational praxis. Consequently, ideas rooted in a mental health/illness binary abound in higher learning, as both curriculum content and through institutional procedures that reinforce structures of normalcy. While madness, then, is included in university spaces, this inclusion proceeds in ways that continue to pathologize madness and disenfranchise mad people.
This paper offers Mad Studies as an alternative entry point for engaging with madness in higher education, arguing that centring madness in pedagogical praxis has the potential to interrupt hegemonic ways of knowing, being, and learning. The paper illustrates how this disruption is facilitated by examining particular aspects of pedagogical praxis mobilized in Mad Studies, including building curriculum alongside mad community, centring madness in course design and student assessment, and the practice of mad positivity.
Ultimately, this approach provides a metacurriculum of unlearning, challenging students to consider how their engagement with madness in the classroom, and beyond, has the potential to disrupt sanist systems of oppression and the normalcy they reconstitute.
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