What makes a person irritating

Irritation and imagination


In processes of experience, we are intensely involved in a situation or - especially important for school learning - in dealing with a learning object. In this article we will show how such meaningful, personality-effective and universally required learning processes can be conceived against the background of a theory of experiential learning. Experiences are constituted within a process of crisis management. This must not be misunderstood as a negativistic view. We will show how crises and irritations are transformed into constructive learning processes and can function as “fruitful moments in educational processes”. However, central procedural and structural moments of the experience process such as resistance, intuition, imagination and phantasy have not actually been tapped in relation to the school learning process. The essay starts at this void, because especially in the case of the fantasy inspired by an irritation, its potential becomes evident to be the center and dynamic medium of an interchange between the inner and outer world and corresponding transitions between the self and the object. This thesis is thematized with regard to its empirical-psychological and didactic connectivity. Finally, the concept of “everyday fantasies” shows that and how irritation and fantasy in educational processes can be fruitfully combined with reflective processes.


In processes of experience, we become intensely involved in a situation or - what is particularly important for academic learning - in the examination of a learning object. In this article we show in which ways meaningful, ubiquitous learning processes that embrace the individual can be understood against the background of a theory of learning based on experience. Experience constitutes itself within a process of crisis management which must not be misunderstood as a negativistic perspective. For we will demonstrate how crises and irritation can be transformed into constructive learning processes and how they function as "fruitful elements in educational processes." However, key processual and structural elements of the process of experience, such as resistance, intuition, imagination, and fantasy, have in effect not yet been developed in learning theory, at least with respect to the academic learning process. It is precisely this gap that this essay acts on. Particularly in the case of fantasy inspired by irritation, its potential of being the focus and dynamic medium of intercommunication between the inner and outer world, and of the corresponding transitions between self and object, becomes evident. This assumption will be thematized with respect to its empirical-psychological and didactic relevance. Finally, using the concept of everyday fantasies it will be demonstrated that and how irritation and fantasy can be fruitfully combined with reflective processes.

Meaning and experience in school learning processes

Really intensive learning processes that achieve the inner participation of the person are rare in school. These only exist as “islands of intensity in a sea of ​​routine” (Ziehe 1996, p. 940). According to Ulrich Oevermann, school-based learning is all too permeated with a compulsory character. The potential of curiosity and imagination that children bring with them is given away. Oevermann (1996) calls for the abolition of compulsory schooling (critical of this: Combe 2005). If one argues for a move away from the indulgent, then the hope must have vanished that one could still learn in a biographically meaningful sense in school. Nevertheless, Jürgen Baumert (2008) warns against speaking badly about school. As a social organizational form of education for everyone, it did not fail. Nevertheless, she suffers from a chronic problem of motivation. The difficult but not unsolvable task of the teachers is to "seduce" the students to learn at least according to the situation (Baumert 2008, p. 21).

The question of whether learning in school can reach biographical depths in pupils is to be discussed here above all in principle and only in the beginning with regard to its possible practical implementation in school. What is actually meant when biographically significant and meaningful learning is mentioned? We would first have to know more about the ways in which meaning and learning can be linked, about processes that not only expand the horizon of understanding with which we encounter the world and ourselves, but transform it.

There is one dimension that refers to such personal learning processes: the process of experience (cf. on different approaches: Buck 1967; Kambartel 1972; Meyer-Drawe 1996, 2005; Waldenfels 2002; Benner 2005; Combe 2004, 2006; Combe & Gebhard 2007). It is experiences from which the subject emerges again and again as another. In experiential processes, we are involved in a multi-layered and highly intensive way of dealing with a situation or - especially important for learning processes - with an issue. Linked to our understanding of processes of experience is the process of an evolving interaction between the subject and the object of experience. In particularly clairvoyant moments of this process we register a change in our relationship to the object and thus also to ourselves. In this essay we will develop how intensive, personality-effective learning processes can be thought against the background of an experiential theory of learning.

Of course, one can be skeptical whether the claim to base learning on experience can even be met in school. Despite this not unjustified skepticism, we assume that the subjects have a fundamental need for meaning, which must also apply to school-based learning and which can only be given up at the price of meaningless learning. If the subjects succeed again and again in combining learning processes with a movement of experience, if finally the subjects also succeed in interpreting their engagement with (learning) objects as meaningful, then personality-effective learning processes can take place.

Different lines can be worked out in the history of the experience concept. We do not limit ourselves here to experiences such as those in the hermeneutic line of tradition, e.g. B. in Gadamer (1960), mainly on the linguistic-cognitive level. Rather, we emphasize the complexity with which we can be involved in an experience process: This ranges from being close to the body, directly affecting, to the dynamics of fantasy processes and attempts at linguistic design. Ultimately, experiences also challenge self-reflection. Giving experiences means that the individual is involved on the level of the bodily-sensual positionality of his practice, so to speak as a physically engaged individual (cf. Meyer-Drawe 2005, p. 512). In addition to the linguistic-reflexive dimension, this dimension also expressly affects the level of impression and intuition - a fact that we will take up in the approach of everyday fantasies (Gebhard 2007) (see Section 4).

In the following presentation, we focus on three aspects, which we consider to be constitutive for processes of experience in their interdependence:

  1. 1.

    the crisis-ridden, irritating initial constellation,

  2. 2.

    dealing with the associated learning resistance and

  3. 3.

    the role and weight of the imagination.

We are initially referring to the assumption of the pragmatic theory of experience, according to which personal experiences are often made in a constellation of crisis and based on a state of irritation. A number of philosophical and educational theory positions refer to this irritating, crisis-ridden, even negative side of experience processes (cf. Gadamer 1960, p. 383; Buck 1967; Benner 2005; Dewey 1988, 2002). Already Dewey (1988, p. 80 ff.) Describes the beginning of the process of experience as an irritation (cf. also English 2005). The beginning of the process of experience contains a moment of "experience" (cf. Bollnow 1968; Waldenfels 2002). The concept of negativity, which finally comes to the fore in Buck (1967), is primarily based on the assumption that at the beginning of the process of experience there is, in a certain sense, a negation, or at least an alienation of previous knowledge and ability. In philosophy, the concept of negativity is often used to indicate processes that are associated with painful conversion and with “relearning” (Buck 1967).

Through this connection of the experience process to crisis-prone initial constellations, questions arise for school-based learning: How much alienation, how much confrontation and irritation, conflict and discontinuity can the lessons tolerate? And: Isn't there an all too negative dramatization of educational processes?

Against this background, it must be clarified - we consider this to be a crucial point, since otherwise the terms "crisis" and "irritation" would have negative connotations - whether and how irritations can also be fruitful. Irritations could at least also lead to the “fertile moment in the educational process” (Copei 1969), which is cited again and again, but has not been researched empirically. Copei says that it needs a “driving force”, a tension, a crisis-ridden constellation, in order to bring about more than just a “memory-like impression of traditional meanings” (Copei 1969, p. 102). At such moments - according to Copei - the knowledge does light up, but as such it is still unfinished. It is precisely this state and its transformations that we want to take a look at. For an evolving process of experience - and this must be taken into account here - the protection of habits must be abandoned. Giving experience also requires open boundaries between a conscious and an intuitive, affective response capable of dealing with the subject of the experience. Here the meanings of intuitions and fantasies will have to be looked at - fantasies to which one must open oneself on the one hand and which one must bring into (linguistic) form for the sake of the sustainability of the experience on the other.

Let us summarize our concerns: We understand experiences against the background of a pragmatic understanding as processes caused by irritation, on the basis of which and in the course of which an intensive interrelation between the subject and the object of the experience can develop. An examination of the structural elements of this irritation-induced process promises to show constellations of a meaningfully developing relationship to a learning object. What can develop here - in the course of an irritation-related process and the aforementioned interrelationship between subject and object - is meaning - both in a hermeneutical and normative-evaluative manner (for more details on the concept of meaning, see Combe & Gebhard 2007; Gebhard 2003). This apparent sense also includes the fact that the experience in particularly clairvoyant moments is in front of the eyes in a context of life history and that professional learning processes can thus become biographically significant. Precisely this could be the universally required learning processes with an impact on personality.

The examination of the provocative core of the concept of experience, namely the thought of a process caused by irritation, leads us in Section 2 to the elements of this process and their functional meaning. The special meaning and function of the imagination in processing and transforming the irritation will play a central role. In the further course of the study we shall make the first outlines of the fruitfulness of an experiential theory of learning for the design of school learning clear. Therefore, in Section 3, we will examine whether and in what respects there are references in the models of empirical, lesson-related teaching-learning research to these elements of the experience process. What is carried out on the theoretical level and presented as a movement of experience between subject and object should also be checked in terms of its didactic-operational and empirical connectivity. In the final section 4 we take up the two central "engines" of the experience process under the title "Everyday fantasies": irritation and fantasy.

Structural elements of the experience movement

In the following, we would like to work out the individual structural elements of the experience process in their functional context in such a way that the character and specificity of experience becomes clear.

Irritation as the beginning of the experience process

Dewey (1988, p. 80 ff.) Describes the beginning of the process of experience as an event that moves out of time and continuity. Dewey describes the first stage of the process of experience as irritation (see also English 2005). The criticality of this situation is expressed by the fact that well-established expectations and routines fail. To continue as before is not easy in view of this disruptive experience. The situation contains a “unfamiliarity” (Combe 2005). At the same time, it does not contain any information about a possible reaction and about a directly accessible link with a previously experienced event. This crisis of the familiar can be the subject of deep concern.

The beginning of the process of experience contains, as already explained above, a moment of "experience" (cf. Bollnow 1968; Waldenfels 2002), that is, a trait of passive suffering. However, the beginning of experience also points to an active tendency to expose oneself to the new and foreign. This is where the idea, yes, the longing for a borderline experience “tears the subject away from itself” (Foucault 1996, p. 46). We must, Foucault argues, best try something outside of our normal environment and occupation, see and experience things that we have not come across before.

We understand a crisis as a break in a (familiar) course of action. Irritation, on the other hand, can be understood as the psychological equivalent of this crisis of routine. If experience - at least in this initial stage - is often referred to as a “negative”, then here relatively dramatic, biographically significant cuts seem to move into the center of attention. But a critical initial moment does not necessarily have to be a sensational event. We owe a subtle description of this “negativity” to the phenomenological approach of Bernhard Waldenfels (2002, p. 99 f .; 2004, p. 65 f.). He describes how “something”, ie an objectivity, enters a routine process, attracts attention, touches and disturbs, without us being able to say or understand what this something is and means. The event hooks up in the unconscious, as it were. The associated expectation of foreignness is not always just intellectual pleasure, but can also cause discomfort. One is, so to speak, alarmed in an affective and close-to-body manner.

Nevertheless, it is anything but self-evident that a process of exploration and research should take place on the basis of these irritations. Waldenfels has pointed to bans that exist regarding the decision as to whether one should expose oneself to the irritating situation at all. In his work he gives us insights into the differentiated gradations and transitions between acceptance and non-acceptance of the irritating situation. He chooses a topological-spatial metaphor for this state of tension: a threshold has to be crossed (Waldenfels 2004, p. 22); This threshold crossing shows a physical and spatial distance from the familiar and it leads into the unknown: One rarely knows what awaits one beyond the threshold and how the matter will end. To withstand the irritation also means to break away from comfort and perseverance.

A learning that reaches the person therefore by no means only requires harmonious starting constellations. It must now be considered what can encourage one to embark on paths into strange worlds of meaning. The question is, how can the irritations be transformed into constructive learning processes and actually function as a motor for learning processes and as a “fruitful moment in the educational process” (Copei 1969)? The crisis-ridden, irritating state must therefore be further explored.

The crisis constellation as a fruitful moment

The following will deal with the question of whether and under what conditions one wants to expose oneself to the irritating situation at all. We consider the clarification of this question - also against the background of our case reconstructions (Combe 2005; Combe & Gebhard 2007) - to be central. Psychoanalysis speaks of resistance or defensive operations (Bittner 1998, p. 166 f.), I.e. various defensive measures in order to keep the demands of the situation at bay. The irritating situation can arouse displeasure, sometimes turn out to be offensive and affects us in our body-related affect constitution. This can lead to situations like this being avoided or - which will be the case far more frequently - to the fact that mental preoccupation with them is to a certain extent rejected.What is avoided is not irritation (that is usually not possible), but dealing with it, i.e. reflecting on it. However, precisely this preoccupation would - and this is one of our central theses - be a condition for the potential of crisis and irritation to turn into more fruitful moments. The problem arises in the impulse zone of the experience process as to whether one is ready to open up to an irritating situation at all, a crisis-ridden situation that can only be fruitful if proven ideas are exceeded and transformed.

The problem of accepting the irritating situation becomes even more complex if one also considers the difference between crises and irritations in the action environment on the one hand and crises in the area of ​​a symbolically shaped and appropriated “world of the mind” on the other. First of all, “mental” crises have the smell of the superfluous about them, as Hans Blumenberg (1987) notes. And Ulrich Oevermann (2004) rightly points out that one has to react to crises that are characterized by catastrophes or decision-making situations, while a mental crisis also has a self-generated character. In other words, the crisis in the field of intellectual World encounter is a crisis with comparatively little pressure to act. It can be avoided in principle, but is brought about by the subject itself in often tireless attempts. In this curious pursuit of idle questions, a motivating factor must be added so that one can get involved in the demands and challenges of a situation. What leads and motivates, that is the follow-up question, about this idle problematization that we know from the field of aesthetic experience, from dealing with art, music and literature? What leads to getting involved in the irritating problem situation, to opening up to the object, which ultimately causes a movement of experience by constantly gaining new sides from it?

A constructive and non-resistant way of dealing with said irritation is, according to our thesis, the opening of a space of imagination and fantasy. At this point of departure in the process of experience, where it is a matter of accepting foreignness, dealing with fantasy processes proves to be central to whether and how irritations can be transformed into constructive learning processes. This opening of a fantasy and imagination space drives the process of experience beyond the persistence in resistance.

The opening of an imagination and fantasy space - fantasy as the motor of the movement of experience between the subject and the learning object

Recourse to the concept of fantasy with regard to learning processes is not a matter of course within the framework of the didactic, but also the learning-theoretical discussion so far. This is not least due to a certain lack of clarity in the concept of fantasy. In this section we are primarily concerned with the justification of the thesis that and to what extent the opening of a space of imagination and fantasy is the decisive step for the productivity of the movement of experience between the self and the object. This step leads beyond the irritation and possible resistance and makes it understandable why one takes on the claim of mental crises.

A few brief remarks on the concept of phantasy should be added: Inner images, ideas and their creative version, namely phantasies, are directed towards absent objects, while perception relates to the "phenomenal representation" (Prinz 1983, p. 379) of objects that are present, with whom one has contact in acting. The presence of the objects belongs to sensual perception, but not to sensual representation. Concepts such as imagination, inner images, fantasies and imaginations - despite their different theoretical origins - are in line with one another in that it is characteristic of them that their objects are "vividly absent" (Sartre 1971, p. 57).

The meaning of the imagination has been given much thought in philosophy from an epistemological, ethical, aesthetic and religious point of view (cf. the overview in Ritter 1971). The word was introduced into German in the 14th century and has been used ambivalently from the start, because mistrust of the imagination - so to speak, as "phantasy" - has been expressed again and again.

This criticism also touches on the question of what distinguishes constructive, forward-looking fantasies from paralyzing fantasies (cf. Oettingen 1997; Oettingen, Pak & Schnetter 2001). Other expressions have been introduced into the word field: imagination, imagination, conception, intuition - to name only the most important. And again and again, fantasy functioned as the opposite of rational thinking.

With regard to professional learning processes, one thought is significant, for which there is much to be said for due to the phenomenology of the experience process: The imagination is the organizing center of an interchange between the self and the world of objects, a transition space in which the human being oscillates between his inner soul processes and the material ones Conditions of the external world, in which he is currently and with which he is concerned, moves back and forth (cf. here also Winnicott 1995; Schäfer 1986, 1995; Mollenhauer 1996).

Let us now take a detailed look at the role fantasies play in the dissolution and transformation of resistance. In the case of resistance, there is a constriction instead of an opening in relation to the object. The irritation-related process would end before it began in a productive manner; different in the case of the opening of a presentation and fantasy room. We see two theoretical variants in particular:

The first variant of the concept of fantasy can be derived from the psychoanalytic defense theory. The assumption is that a large part of the defense processes serve to protect against insults, injuries and collapses in self-esteem, just as, conversely, a stable self-esteem might reduce the need for defensive operations (Hoffmann 1987, p. 34). The rejection operations are placed in a narcissistic context and in the context of self-psychology (cf. on extensions of psychoanalysis in the direction of self-psychology, Bittner 1998). Applied to the problem of getting involved in an irritating initial situation of experiential processes, this means that a fantasy of success and the associated anticipation for a successful work could bring about a constructive turn. One could speak of a utopia of success here. So it is not enough just to look at the irritating beginning of a process of experience, it is important to look at it from its - albeit fragile - end. Here, the crisis is only a transitional stage of a process, at the end of which there is a state of success - a fleeting happiness that can, however, arouse the desire for repetition and duration. So our rationale is that overcoming the crisis is a deep affirmation. At the - of course provisional - end of the process there is an expanded self: You see something that you have never seen before. Nietzsche already speaks of the fact that a stable sense of self-worth, confidence and self-confidence can reduce the need for defensive countermeasures and are indispensable for a productive crisis solution, referring to the narcissistic motor of the imagination. According to Nietzsche, there is a “brilliant anticipation” of success, “a driving force and hope for future fertility” (Nietzsche 1966, Vol. III, p. 362). But Nietzsche leaves no doubt that this form of projective imagination only anticipates what will later be lived through in the form of real encounters and demands and will have to find a corresponding reality grid. Otherwise one would speak of fantasy. The pragmatic concept is now approaching the process of fantasy realization.

This second variant of the productive handling of states of irritation can be developed from the point of view of pragmatism and focuses on the importance of opening up a space of imagination and fantasy. Following George Herbert Mead, Oevermann (1991, p. 267 ff.) Worked out to what extent fantasies and inner images function as a medium for a thought-experimental processing of problem constellations and problem solutions. By means of the imagination and corresponding inner images, an intensive exchange movement takes place between the self and the thing; there are construction and reconstruction movements in which the inner images can be addressed as "text". Fantasies are thus also forms of expression in which the movement of experience between the self and the thing can be recorded and communicated outside of its current execution. This variant of the functioning of the imagination, which comes from Mead's social philosophy, ultimately means work of meaning - a demanding process of construction and reconstruction of a problem situation and its possible solutions. These are the work of a work fed by previous experiences with inner images and fantasies, which are then to be extended anew in the sense of hypothetical drafts of the future. Interestingly, the psychological research activities on the mental construction of imaginary images, even if they are expressed in a different terminology, are based on the functional conception of imagination as “text”: “This imagining activity enables us to have static and dynamic images 'in our mind's eye' to allow real or imagined scenes and processes to arise, which can then be viewed and analyzed in front of this inner eye ”(Bannert & Schnotz 2006, p. 73). The initiation of a fantasy related to challenge and solution at the same time, however, does not happen by itself. Fantasies need “their” setting: on the one hand, relief from the burden of action and areas of retreat and, on the other hand, inner concentration of concentration. You have to be calm, but also carry a certain tension of conflict within yourself, so that impressions, memories and fantasies can be produced and restructured in the same state, floating almost behind the back of the ego, which then re-enter consciousness as a new context of ideas. These fantasy scenarios are the seeds of a possible problem solution. They are reorganized, can be added to new contexts like texts until a "correct design", i.e. a solution-promising assignment of the inner images to objective crisis and problem constellations is possible.

The phase of the production of inner images has a monological, but at the same time a trait directed towards other subjects, who thus become co-constructors, so to speak. So we also strive for social and factual validation of our subjective projections and symbolizations. What is my problem in general? What are others doing in this situation? In the phase of irritation and crisis, however, everyone is to some extent alone. In the case of the need to check the possibilities for action and interpretation in a social exchange, on the other hand, it is about the connectivity of our internal dialogue. The creation of connectivity is to a large extent an achievement of language - i.e. the opening of a linguistic-dialogical articulation space. To be able to cope with a problem in the long term, it is important to be able to put it and the associated fantasy scenarios into words. So let us continue to follow the dramaturgy of the process of experience.

Giving the new concept: The opening of a linguistic articulation space through metaphorics

A characteristic of the linguistic articulation level of experiences is the search for a language in which experiences, desires, fantasies and emotions can be articulated that have not yet been able to find a (linguistic) expression. In addition, the language refers not only to the internal level of fantasy, but also to external reality. We have developed a didactic model for this with the pair of terms subjectification and objectification (Combe & Gebhard 2007; Gebhard 2005).

For the further process of experience and its productive transformation, this means that concepts must now be given to the new. The form of communication that meets the experience can be the narrative, to which, as Walter Benjamin writes in his 1936 essay “The narrator”, “the trace of the narrator as the trace of the potter's hand [adheres] to the clay bowl” (Benjamin 1977, P. 447). Emphasizing the importance of language does not mean, however, that processes of processing experience always end in clarity and a definitive conclusion. In this context, the “truth” can often be neither more nor less than “a mobile army of metaphors” (Nietzsche), because it is precisely in the flow of images that perspectives on a new view of things can be mentally tested and articulated. Again, the pioneering function of the imagination for linguistic articulation should be pointed out here. As long as we are relieved of the risks and constraints of practice, we can let go of the railing that prevents us from advancing further to symbolize (still) “fantastic” possibilities. Terms move a context of experience into a generally binding language regulation and into a general universe of meaning. In this sense, as Bertolt Brecht puts it, they are “handles”. But the conceptual articulation of experience also fixes, fixes, abstracts from the flow of phenomena.

Interim balance

We have presented experience as an irritation-related process that can ultimately find its place in a meaningful learning story. This creates “stories” that can be told. The fact that this experience is finally placed in a linguistic world does not mean that this occurrence is necessarily subject to rational control. That would be an overly intellectualistic variant of the experience process. It is true that the specific human possibility of an experience that is expanded through language must be emphasized; Thinking about an experience can certainly lead to a differentiated experience of future experience. But much of the experience is beyond consciousness and control. In the event of irritation and disruptive experience, a process can be expected that begins on the level of physical-affective resonances and initially leads to spontaneous attempts at fitting or resistance. We asked whether such irritations or crisis-ridden constellations can also be fruitful. We have shown the imagination as a decisive motor of learning processes to be decisive for this becoming fertile. People have the freedom of constructive imagination. Through its mediating quality of representation, the phantasy is the driving element that brings about transformations of the relationship between subject and thing. The way in which the imagination works is less apparent in the form of a linear, forward-looking movement. Rather, their form of movement is that of a cyclical development - in retrospectives and anticipations, drafts and their evaluation. This “retroactive anticipation” (Combe 1992) consists of drafts that have been pre-formed through previous experience and an analogously structured movement of the reconstruction and evaluation of what has been drafted.

In the further course, the aim is to make the potential of an experiential theory of learning for the design of school-based learning clear, at least in its first outlines. At the same time it should be outlined that there are references to the process structure of experience in the models of empirical, lesson-related teaching-learning research. This approach, which can only be touched briefly and exemplarily, means that didactic and empirical approaches are asked whether they depict central structural elements of the experience process:

  • The irritation as a subjective opening condition of a process of experience

  • Spontaneous reactions and forms of resonance that allow or prevent an opening towards the object

  • Letting rise of images and fantasies of narcissistic, constructive and reconstructive provenance: drafts into the open and their "evaluation"

  • Reflective reflection and the striving for a narrative, figurative and conceptual expression of the new

We would like to proceed as follows when relating to didactics and empirical teaching-learning research: References to research and didactic practice should first relate to analogies to the forms of execution and expression of experience processes and their functional meaning, i.e. to irritation, learning resistance, fantasy and finally metaphorization and conceptualization of experience. These categories of the organization of experience are concretized at the same time in didactic lighting. It will be shown that one problem lies in viewing the individual characteristics of an experiential process as isolated building blocks. Without an experienced and network-like connection between all components - so our assumption - their learning effectiveness cannot develop.Such a connection is finally established in the project form of teaching (Section 3.5) as well as in teaching work with everyday fantasies (Section 3.6).

For didactic and empirical connectivity of the experience concept

"Task culture" and the approach to the learning object

We will now look for approaches in the field of empirical learning and teaching research as well as didactics that contain a certain procedural complexity and that start from the dissolution of an irritating, challenging and crisis-prone initial constellation. It is possible to fall back on teaching patterns that have been reconstructed in video studies (Baumert et al. 1997; Stiegler & Hiebert 1999; Hiebert et al. 2003). Here, especially in the so-called Japanese pattern, a teaching that is good from a mathematics didactic point of view, a time-consuming examination of a few, but cognitively demanding, complex tasks has emerged as an organizing center of such a teaching. From this cognitive activation, for example through a challenging task culture, a connection to the thought of irritation or crisis as a motor of learning processes can be established. The question can start from this: It is motivated by tension and leads to search patterns for new experiences.

In parallel to this “basic dimension” of cognitive activation (Klieme 2006, p. 768 f.), The understanding of tasks in the field of didactics has differentiated and a revision of the task culture has begun (see in detail Eikenbusch 2008). In analogy to the irritating beginning of experiential processes, also with regard to the task culture, what is at stake here is an approach to the learning object that does not present “the purified objects of science” (Dewey 2007, p. 37). Learning objects are given to the learner not only as an external counterpart, but also in the mode of dealing with experiences. “Because things are to a much greater extent objects that are treated, used, influenced, with which to work, which have to be enjoyed and endured [...] They are things that one has before they are things that one recognizes “(Dewey 2007, p. 37).

Irritations as a rift between the forms of knowledge: everyday ideas and technical language interpretation

An almost everyday form of irritation in school learning, which necessitates “convergence work”, is the gap between everyday ideas and specialist knowledge systems. Irritation therefore plays a role in the transition from everyday knowledge to scientific knowledge (Meyer-Drawe 1996). What scientific knowledge is ultimately "archived" in the curriculum develops with its own self-reference. Research into everyday conceptions, primarily in the field of natural science, has done a good job of researching this difficult and often conflict-ridden transition under the heading of “conceptual change” (Duit 1996, 2006; Reinfried 2007). However, there is still an open field of research. The transferability of the findings to linguistic subjects, for example, can be regarded as not yet sufficiently clarified (Klieme 2006, p. 770 ff.).

When confronted with new (scientific) knowledge, the subject is to a certain extent disturbed in its tried and tested everyday ideas. We have worked out in detail elsewhere that this is at least also a crisis situation (Combe & Gebhard 2007). From the perspective of natural science didactics, the fact that learners have a feeling of foreignness when they first approach a subject, i.e. that a distance can be observed between person and thing, is characteristic of the beginning of a learning process. The decisive factor is how this distance is dealt with by the teacher. It doesn't make sense to try to overcome the gap as quickly as possible. Rather, it is important to turn this into a field of tension from which learning processes derive their dynamics. A “cognitive conflict” - more precisely: a conceptually determined crisis - is created by juxtaposing different perspectives, everyday and scientific (Duit 1993, 1996, 2006; Kattmann & Gropengießer 1996). The aim is not to eliminate everyday ideas, but rather the ability to be “bilingual” (Combe & Gebhard 2007; Gebhard 2005), which makes it possible to go back and forth between the two (language) versions in a playful and imaginative way. With this “conceptual crisis”, as we want to call it with a view to the gap between the forms of knowledge, we have only designated the starting point of a movement of experience. But under current school conditions it is not certain whether this process of experience does not get stuck in the resistance before it even gets going in a productive and practical way.

Resistance and school conditions: Imagery strategies and error-friendliness

We have characterized the phantasy as the organizing center of an interchange between the self and the world of objects, as a transition space (after Winnicott 1995; Schäfer 1986, 1995). Determination and will are not enough to "induce" productive fantasies. The opening of a fantasy space requires an opening to the sources beyond conscious consideration and purpose. An example of the interplay between the inner and outer world is the play of the child: the imagination, coming from the inner world, also brings the outer world into the ego (cf. Winnicott 1995; Schäfer 1986).

The question that can be derived from this for the didactic setting is whether there are appropriate spaces for the subjective docking of fantasies to the learning object - also in their function of overcoming learning resistance. In addition, such formations of a problem situation and its possible solutions are only ignited by the resistance to a thing. The special contribution of the functional imagination to crisis resolution lies in its function as a medium for construction and reconstruction, by means of which the transformations from the problem structure to the solution structure can be advanced. First of all, this thread of discussion in educational psychology is carried out under the headings of the construction and change of “mental models” (cf. for example the overview Seel 2000, p. 253 ff.) As well as under the heading “imagination” and “imagery strategies”. "Mental models serve", says Seel, "the simulation of 'possible worlds" and their possible transformations "(Seel 2000, p. 256). In this context, there are numerous studies by psychology that the permeability between the forms of representation and multiple coding, for example in the iconic and linguistic format, can have a positive effect on the learning outcome (Bannert & Schnotz 2006). Nevertheless, even according to the judgment of Bannert and Schnotz, imagery strategies, such as reading or word processing, are used all too sparingly in schools (cf. also Gudjons 2003).

The teaching deficit addressed here with regard to the possibilities of designing an imagination and fantasy space to create a broad contact zone between the inner and outer world of a learner can be illuminated in a somewhat different way, namely from the conditions that favor the handling of fantasies. We mean the error-friendliness of the lesson: A “discursive handling of errors” (Klieme 2006, p. 770) can initially be described as the “basic dimension”, which represents a corresponding condition for cognitive activation in the classroom. The problem is that if students approach their teachers openly and trustingly with learning problems, ignorance, misunderstandings and recurring problems, they are taking a risk (empirical: Hascher 2005). If sanctions, embarrassment and exposure threaten here, a reflected-playful self-distance, a searching and testing handling of the irritation is hardly to be expected. In this context, learning research and didactics have become sensitive to forms of feedback in lessons (Helmke 2003; Bastian, Combe & Langer 2003). The error-friendliness is an important condition for the positive use of imaginary processes to overcome resistance. It also becomes apparent that the experience structures associated with experiential learning require an attitude that gives space, which, in the terminology of learning psychology, enables both cognitive activation (qua irritation) and mental modeling of the learning problem (qua fantasy) (cf. for example Seel 2000, p. 253 ff.). In this way, problem-solving processes can also initiate detours and in intuitive or experimental forms of approach before they take on a linguistic or other representational form. Our understanding of an experiential theory of learning also gives room for the experimental linking of modes of action and thus a thoroughly pre-reflective experience of handling.

Experience-generating orders of speaking in the classroom: language areas

From the point of view of the endeavor to express and articulate experience, the discussion concept of the class is up for grabs (on language in class: Lüders 2003). This is about the area of ​​opportunities for experience that are expanded, even generated, through language and meaning. According to the video analyzes of the TIMMS researchers, we can assume relatively well-worn orders of speech, which aim at a quick, small-step disambiguation of facts (cf. also Rumpf 2004 for details). The question now is whether and to what extent experiences can be made in the classroom dialogue or whether what can be called experience building takes place. Käte Meyer-Drawe (1996, p. 95) described the structures of an experience-related or experience-generating conversation situation, in which those involved would have to be obstetricians for one another, as follows: “That is why it can happen that I only learn something when I say and act I knew that it was only someone else's questions that produced my possible answers and not just called them up ”. The different background of experience of my counterpart, his different view of things, challenges me to rethink my own position. Such a gradual creation of thoughts and the emergence of insights in the conversation could, based on the empirical evidence, also be related to the conversation between the students. Experience is gained when learners can construct knowledge together in linguistic negotiation processes (Rehm 2003, p. 206 ff., P. 250 ff.).

At the moment the discussion about the class discussion is focused on the dimension of the question. Questions and the ability to ask questions in a crisis are described as a decisive, introductory experience dimension in the examination of the conversational situations in the classroom (cf. the overview by Neber 2004, 2006; Niegemann 2004). We pave our way with questions. It is not uncommon for a form of revealing imagination to begin based on or based on this. This can mean that the subject turns to the irritation and thus a process of experimental problem-solving (in the medium of fantasy) is set in motion. Gadamer (1960, p. 375) summed up the genesis of a factual context of experience, which is only sketched here, as follows: "To understand a text means to understand the question to which the text is an answer."

Experience theory and project method

By bringing the structural points of the experience process in connection with individual empirical and didactic assumptions and findings, indications for the design of learning environments are possible, which are favorable for the formation and processing of experience. However, there is still no setting in sight that embodies a “holistic”, network-like interaction of the structural elements of experience into a meaningful unit of action, experience and reflection. Because, as we understand it, an experience movement consists of structural elements, the order of which is not fixed in stages and rigidly, but which refer to one another, call each other, enable variations and are finally implemented and saved as biographically meaningful units in the manner of "chunking".

In the Anglo-Saxon discussion there are teaching models whose characteristics seem to correspond to the process variables of experience. The instruction models of cognitive apprenticeship, anchored instruction (anchoring the learning content in stimulating episodes) and the theory of cognitive flexibility (Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt 1997) are mentioned