I hope this doesn't seem too selfish of me! I just posted this on my blog and it occured to me that the perfect crowd to be asking this question to is right here in this SCoPE seminar. So I'm copying it over. Feel free to respond on my blog or here or privately (firstname.lastname@example.org) or, of course, not at all :-)
I'm in one of those situations where I'm preparing a talk, I think I know what I'm trying to get at, but I'm not sure if it's something I'll be able to articulate.
The presentation is about learning communities and networks, and the audience is primarily higher education faculty who are seeking to make their online courses and their own professional learning more relevant and engaging. Then I thought d'oh, why not get the question out there to my own communities and networks?
So, I'm curious, what do you think about when you read this phrase:
Learning where it happens
(emphasis anywhere, punctuation optional)
|"Learning to Fly" by Liz|
Hi Sylvia - I have to say that my immediate reponse is that I'm not sure what you are trying to get at. If I wanted to be pedantic, I could question what 'it' means in this context. So - what do I think about when I read this phrase? I am confused. But this is not necessarily a bad thing and maybe what you want?
Jenny, you're not the first one to say that! I've asked the question in a few places (twitter, my blog, etc) and noticed that the quick, immediate responses have been quite playful. I love your comment that it is not necessarily a bad thing to be confused.
Sylvia, OK ... If you are looking for, and open to, surprises ...
- where it happens - an empirical question - observe, describe, ask for stories, narratives, visualisations, mind-maps.
- 'where' it happens - where there are some of the following present and available:
- (closed) learning objects with instruction
- (open) learning objects with intention and an invitation to explore [these two options are from a discussion thread elsewhere in this forum, and are work in progress - might be too rough at this stage]
- 'it' - cognitive, embodied, affective, ontological, professional, social, etc, or all of the above.
- 'how it happens' - risky and challenging (see the bird on the left) comfortalbe (the bird on the right) etc - all of which depend on the context, and just how high the roof is that they are standing on, whether there is a cat below, etc.
- 'who' is learning, who is the intended learner, is there an intended learner/s? - you might refer to The Pope sat on the Chair pictures:
and you can refer to the analyses, here ...
- with or without instruction, modelling, demonstration
- 'learning' - run out of ideas here - maybe later ...
Roy, I love surprises! Thanks for deconstructing the phrase. I giggled when I read the last one:
'learning' - run out of ideas here
I'm always drawn to visuals and enjoyed the pope photos, with all the possibilities of what they are thinking, how they are influencing what goes on in that space in so many different ways.
One thing that came to mind when looking at these photos and thinking about learning spaces (one possible interpretation of "where") is invitation. There might be an intended learner, but without the invitation engagement might not happen the same way. I might be thinking more about welcoming than inviting, but there's something to be said for connecting with open arms rather than simply being available, and expecting that people will relate to you because of who you are.
Syvia, invitating and welcoming works for me. It is indeed more then 'simply being available' - its inviting people to enter into a relationship, a dance, a conversation, a mutual silence (add to taste ...)
The critical threshold for a Montessori 'Directress' as well as a Montessori parent is to welcome, show, and then to step back and put your hands behind your back, and shut up, so that the learner can figure out if the invitation and welcome articulates with what they need at that point in their own development (or not), and get on with it (all happens intuitively and implicitly if the welcome is open enough). Some people (Directresses and parents) find this almost impossible to do.
An open welcome also welcomes a 'no thank you' response - as and important part of learning. The young bird in your picture might not be so lucky!