I'd got this down to one word 'love' as in 'love thy labour'. I wonder if 'fascination' would be a better term to describe what drives the successful learner. Or 'enduring fascination' that takes you through the good and bad times.
Fig. 1. My sister and her month old grandson. (c) S.J.F.Mitchell (2014)
Is love the best form of education?
Love of your 'teacher'
Their love of the 'subject'
With motivation who needs the Internet or books? Both help. Classes help. Having and giving the time helps. Support helps. Parents play a role, and should they be around, grandparents even more so because they are there.
On a quest to find some international plugs (I failed), I stumbled upon the cards I used to give the eulogy for my late grandfather. He died in early December 1992 at the age of 96. He left school at 14. He talked about the First World War and I watched him, never idle, in the garage and garden. When do undergraduates or graduates get to 'watch' their tutors 'at work'. That would be an insight, and inspirational. Or is this in part what one gets during a PhD?
Is it true, nothing or kind?
This has been bugging me, as I am consciously excitable and enthusiastic about whatever it is I am doing so will voice my thoughts in search of the truth, hoping that what I';m saying isn't vacuous and as it is academic then there should be no question of whether it is 'kind' or not.
You pass a stranger walking the dog. You mention the weather, or football and you are immediately guilty of opening your mouth for no worthwhile purpose. Better to say, 'What a lovely dog you've got!' which is kind, more than nothing ... though whether it is true or not is open to debate (or undebateable).
You might say more than 'lovely weather we're having' and say 'that high has established itself and looks like giving us a long spell of settled sunshine' TRUE ... but you may be talking to a BBC weather presenter.
Say nothing at all?
Just smile kindly and let the person you pass on the path fill in the detail.
Pernickety about many things my late father considered all small talk a waste of breath; how are you, the weather, football ... though you could stop him in his self-indulgent thoughts by mentioning a kite you'd spotted. Each to their own.
'Lovely weather we're having' someone says to which you reply, 'and amazing cloud formations, have you noticed ... look, what does that one'.
Where does flirting fit into the pattern?
You whisper sweet nothings into her ear as you grin, cuddle closer and reciprocally place hands in places that hint of something more.
Is it kind?
That depend. If it is first date can you tell yet whether it will lead to fifty years of marriage, three kids, six grandkids and a mortgage?
Is it true?
'I love you' ?
Where's the truth in that? Your truth may be their ability to indulge you.
I have this idea that motivation matters. That the 'desire' to learn is part of it, and that to 'love your learning' is even better - whatever drives that love.
As Vladimir Nabakov said, "It's a matter of love; the more you love a memory the stronger that memory becomes."
Do you 'love' what you are studying? Even a little bit? Sometimes? Very rarely indeed I have sat an exam and loved it.
'Mindbursts' has been the name I've blogged under since 2002. I recently got the .com website and and wondering what to do with it.
The above, to certain educators, probably in higher education, and possibly only academics, puts a doodle of Activity Theory between the heart and two minds meeting. My thinking is that two minds and collaboration is good - though talking to yourself probably counts given how the conscious and unconscious brain works. My thinking is that love of a subject - lust for it, desire for it, motivation to conquer all, to achieve goals, to overcome adversity is in the mix. And like any love affair you can fall in and out of love! Or have impetuous flings. Or have a long lasting deep affection for a subject. While Activity Theory, becoming a little old school, studies the interconnectedness of nodes of interest and action in groups or communities of people - used to problem solve businesses and organisations, yet for me representative of what goes on in a brain - the multiple connections between parts of the brain that interact with another's brain to generate new stuff. Maybe I've got my mental knickers in twist and should be thinking of networking theory instead? Ooops.
In the right context with the right people role play can be used to help see or experience a problem from a different perspective. Here however, Virginia Woolf and friends pull off a hoax and a treated as royal guests on one of His Majesty's battleships.
So many people describe this OU Business School module (B822 : Creativity, Management & Change) and the residential school I am currently attending as something that changed their lives; I've been waiting for that moment, or for a series of insights to congregate and like a celestial choir sing something special.
I was up at 5.00 am and writing (of course), taking a swim at 6.45 am in the pool here at the Heathrow Marriott, into an Elective at 8.00 am and the first Tutor Workshop at 9.00 am.
The second workshop kicked in after lunch at 1.30 pm then from 7.00 pm three more hour long electives in a row.
At no stage was I ever tired or bored, indeed I feel embarrassed even writing this, the very thought!?
Too much new, too important, too interesting, too interested. Like my second week at nursery school: amongst friends, secure, allowed and expected to have fun. Alert.
It was in the very last cessation today, during an hour of guided relaxation, shoes off lying on the conference room floor, lights out, soft music playing that my unconscious gave me a two word tip and did its best to visualise the love my children have for me and I have for them. I'm still trying to see what love looks like: white, a slightly crumpled unopened rosebud the size and shape of chicory but made of paper, or tissue. I tried (in the semi-conscious dream-like state that I was in) to cup 'love' in my hands as if I was scooping up water but it proved illusive, like a cloud.
After we were brought out of our semi-unconscious state (I fell asleep momentarily three times) we were all asked to share what we experienced; I eventually chirped up with the word 'profound'.
The detail of the day is here too, all typed up with pictures (courtesy of iPad and iPhone) of flip-charts, post-it notes, finger-paintings and slides. This will take a week to prepare as posts.
B822 BK 2 C6 Precepts
Especially actions that DISCOURAGE speculation/creativity Henry (2010:93)
Charles Handy (1991) Creativity in Mangement, Radio 1, B822
Charles Handy (1991)
Charles Handy (1991)
A sense of direction
Schon, D.A. (1983) The Reflective Practioner
Some ‘Set Breakers’ Henry (2010:96)
1. Develop broad background experience and many interests
2. Find and challenge your own blind spots
3. Explore many different perspectives
4. Challenge yourself
5. Develop good browsing facilities
6. Change techniques or different mental modes
7. Seek out people with other points of view
8. In a group
1. Dry Run
2. Quota of alternatives
3. Inverse optional question
4. Checklist of transformations
5. Reverse the problem
6. Boundary relaxation
7. What difference?
8. Get several people to try it
9. Deep questioning
11. Fresh eye
6.4 Value of Play
1. Play is key to learning activity
2. The objects of play are both objective and subjective
3. The ability of play helps create the sense of independence.
4. Play offers a protected area of illusion
5. Plays is a way of managing unfulfilled need.
6. Play can lead to a particular state of mind.
7. Play breaks down outside certain emotional limits.
8. Shared play builds relationships
A. Choice of Setting
B. Choice of team members
C. Climate to aim for
D. Don’t demystify
E. Management of coping mechanisms
F. An aid to team building
· Problem finding (experience)
· Map building
· Janusian Thinking
· Controlling and not controlling
· Using domain and direction
· Planning rather than goal-directed planning
· Humour that oils
· Using ad hoc structures such as task force and project teams
· Using a core group embedded in a network of contracts and information
· ‘Turbulence management’
N.B. Creativity needs space vs. time pressure, interruption
· Create Space
6.8 involve others
The more participants you have, the more ideas you get.
‘Successfully creative people are often deeply committed to a particular domain, that has strong internal significance to them, and they focus very firmly on particular goals’. (e.g. Tessa Ross, Lionel Wigram, William Hague)
'Passion and persistence can motivate sustained work; attract the loyalty of helpers; create awareness of you and your project in people who have relevant resources; and reassure those who need to take risks on your behalf.’ Henry (2010:114)
- Blind chance
- Wide-ranging exploration
- The prepared mind
- Individualised Action
6.12 Manage the Process Henry (2010:1113)
· Get the parameters right
· Sustain pace and energy
· Develop trust
· Keep the experience positive
· Do – analyse either side and separately
Learn from experience of others
Adams, J.L. (1987) Chase, Chance and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty; New York; Columbia University Press.
Austin, J.H. (1978) Chase, Chance and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty: New York: Columbia University Press.
McCaskey, M.B. (1988) ‘The challenge of managing ambiguity’, in Pondy, L.R, Boland, R.J and Thomas, H (eds) Managing Ambiguity and Change, new York, pp 2-11
Schon, A.A. (1983) The Reflective Practioner: How Professionals think in Action, London: Temple Smith
Wetherall, A. and Nunamaker, J (1999) Getting Results from Electronic Meetings
Winnicott, D.W (1972) Playing and Reality. Harmondsworth (1983) Davis, M and Wallbridge, D (1983) Boundary and Space: An Introduction to the Work of D.W. Winnicott. Harmondsorth.
Then you settle into married life and children and, as I now do, I celebrate my 18th Wedding anniversary, my younger sister's 25th and the 50th anniversary of my in-laws.I read about people who plan to digitise their life. The ephemera I have includes the diaries and a trunk of handwritten letters; rememeber them? And letters this boy sent to his Mum from about the age of 8.
Wherein lies the value of it? A useful habit, as it turns out, but do we expect our want a new generation to store every text, every message, every Facebook entry. Are these not stored whether they like it or not ... and potentially shared. Whose business should it be, when and if to 'disclose' or 'expose' a life. It can be of value, but it can also be harmful.
On the reverse side of this card is a note to my fiance, written on the 17th February 1992. We'd been engaged for 8 months, were living apart and would be together that summer and remain together now.
The value of reflection here, is a reminder of these sentiments. The value of any record, any stirred memory, can be to reinforce it, to be cherished, forgotten or dealt with. But if you haven't taken notes, you rely on the vagaries of your mind. So perhaps a massively scaled down version of digitising everything you do may have value, like a broach you press on occassion 'for the record.
All of this STILL coming from a single Opinion piece in the New Scientist (23 December to 1 Jan) about someone digitising every moment of their existence.
This is how the 'professional' student or corporate blog should look ... not social networking, no flirting, no personal stuff, just the business - something to chew on.
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