Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Subjectifying my Learning!

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I have no idea how Dave Cormier does it, but before the offical #rhizo15 start date, there r already 1,000 tweets, an active fb group, an open learning recipe doc with more than 10 collaborators and a song on rhizomatic learning with about 6 of us. And Dave did none of it. Seriously. He initiated none of it. Except maybe his pre-#rhizo15 blogpost(s) which generated some thoughtful posts by ppl. It’s day 1 and I can’t keep up. But that’s fine i don’t have to.

I wanted to write a curation blogpost linking to others but my mind isn’t fit for it today. Too much other stuff. But i did do what i hoped – i commented on a lot of posts, retweeted them and connected with new and old friends so that’s all good.

Now the prompt to think about learning subjectives reminded me of my latest hybridped column Embracing Subjectivity (an opinionated piece which fits its title completely i thought)

I started to think of connotations of the words objective and subjective. We say “objectify” as a bad thing, as in taking a person and objectifying them. As objectivity as distance and less human.
But we can also use subjective in a negative connotation. Not just when we say something is subjective as in biased (which i think is the human condition and not bad) but as in “subjecting someone to torture” or such.

There is also the use of the word subject as in topic of study, which brings to mind Foucault’s play on the word discipline as in, discipline (academic subject matter) and discipline the verb (as in disciplining a child) and the power/knowledge inherent in that.

And then i thought of research and how we call participants in our research subjects. But also how a state has subjects (the people or populace) and those uses of the word make me think of obedience, compliance.

Then i remembered something i wrote in that open learning recipe or some other place. About feeling i was in control of my own learning

And it clicked: am I in control of my learning? Is my learning subject to me?

I am guessing Dave did not mean for a superficial linguistic analysis as i have just done

So let me step back. What i dislike about learning objectives is their predetermination out of context

Therefore my learning subjectives are emergent, flexible, situated, enriched and influenced by context. i.e. i cannot write then out in advance! I do know at the moment that i am in love πŸ™‚ with #rhizo15 already.

I had unplans for #rhizo15. Not to talk too much. It was in my control. But I talked a lot. Coz Sarah (in the open learning recipe) said: be yourself. And who else can I be?

I didn’t plan to start a learning recipe but Chrissi inspired me to start it as a joke which turned into a work of beauty (mentioned in today’s hangout, too, see below). I never planned to sing a song with fellow rhizoers but the words touched me and music was gorgeous. When i contributed i didn’t mean to get it overlapping w Kevin’s voice but following it but…technical problems and workarounds later…it still worked out wonderfully. See Kevin’s post here to hear song and read backstory.

I planned to interact more responsively to people in rhizo15. I think i am doing that – responding to others more than writing myself out. It’s easy Coz so many non-rhizo friends are here. But also so many new ppl feeling their way. It’s day 1 and someone must see cliques already i guess

I kept myself busy (to make sure i didn’t take up too much space) partly intentionally and partly by coincidence and partly by timing. I had a #dmlcommons hangout today that was awesome and nothing at all to do w #rhizo15 except my own identity is closely tied to #rhizo14 and Bonnie was in the hangout by my invitation πŸ™‚ and then @cogdog mentioned the open learning recipe as an example and oh well. U can’t escape the rhizome.  Was an awesome hangout w some good friends (and really pure luck that my daughter magically fell asleep an hour before her bedtime when she’d been really erratic over spring break; she woke up as i was writing this post). I had no plans to do much with #dmlcommons and yet this is my 2nd hangout w them. Here is the recording

I am working on lots of diff things for #et4online and overwhelmed about what’s to come but hoping it’ll all be cool and ppl find synergies w #rhizowhatever

I picked up cucumbers from our plot today. And watercress. I soooo hate removing weeds. Poor things. I dunno why Autumn says rhizomes must die πŸ™

I start teaching next week and am super excited about that πŸ™‚

Gotta go

8 Comments

  1. I love the way subjectivity challenges so many assumptions about what is the ‘right way’ to see the world. Objectivity has become something we believe can be built and believed in that resides beyond challenge. Anything that beyonds itself MUST be suspect. Disallowing the human ability to investigate human constructs leaves us helpless.

  2. Sorry to make you frown Maha πŸ™

    Don’t be too sad – there is more learning and growth for you and I – in this moment; in this here and now. I can’t wait to learn with you.

    But all things that grow eventually die; in part and in whole. It is sadder when things die in whole but it does happen. By letting go we open up.

    https://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/133.html

    I’m not sure what we get out of pretending that death is not going to happen or that it does not exist. I’m not sure what the benefit is there – maybe it makes us feel not as afraid for a bit. I think that to fear death is normal but I have also been playing around with the idea that all bias is based in fear if you dig deep enough. I think that we are biased toward life and that is fine I can’t fault anyone for that – I’m just wondering what we are giving up when we don’t look death in the eye. Not looking with contempt or defiance but just for what it is without judgement.

    The pea shoots just broke ground in my garden this morning πŸ™‚

    • You know, Autumm, you’re right (sorry i just noticed this comment now) – we are probsbly afraid of death but it is inevitable. I’ll ink some more and try to blog progress! Looking fwd to more with u

  3. I enjoyed your hybrid pedagogy post on Embracing Subjectivity so much, Mahi, and forgot to say so or share it so thanks for the reminder, and I enjoyed reading it again even more. i like the way the question of “learning subjectivities” turns our thinking around for a moment and gives us another lens. as always, i appreciate the way you share your sense of these turns and shifts and rhizomes πŸ™‚

  4. Your learning subjectives “emergent, flexible, situated, enriched and influenced by context” are very rhizomatic aren’t they? If you think of rhizomes as a good thing, rather than weeds that need to be removed or killed, they emerge where you least expect them, are flexible about where they are located, can be situated in a variety of soil types, are enriched by the matter that surrounds them, and are influenced by the landscape where they are found. Rhizo’s arise from your words! πŸ™‚ Helen

  5. I always love your posts but honestly I have no idea how you do everything that you do.

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