Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Sweet Nothings

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Yesterday was absolutely exhilirating. Here I was, reading about Sidorkin’s third discourse (see my last two posts) and now that almost-nonsense discourse is important for learning and community building (I know for a fact that I am projecting my own current thoughts/experience into his theory, but don’t we always do that? The text is transformed by the reader’s interpretation) – and the “carnival” idea (Bakhtin’s, i think, but Sidorkin draws on Bakhtin a lot)

And then I get this blogpost by Simon Ensor, called “nothing very much“, in which he recounts how his students spent 27 seconds to sing me happy birthday; it was “nothing much” but that when they heard my own reply via my own song (all links here in my post on that day) they were so touched with tears in their eyes. Reading Simon’s post, I was so touched myself with tears in my own eyes (I was already so touched that they sang for me in the first place – it was not a generic song, they sang to my name).

Later, Susan Watson shared with me one of her students’ “can” assignments. I remember coming across this “can” thing (see my post Ingredients of Me where I describe myself as ingredients in a can) from Alan Levine while asking him about something totally different. I got hooked on it, and posted it immediately, and there was takeup from some people from #clmooc (it was similar to one of the first makes for that mooc) and some of my new friends in Canada (one of whom had her students actually write on physical bean cans!!!) and now Susan. I saw her student’s work and fell in love with him. I could not believe he was only 12 years old. I could not believe he was brave enough to venture into editing the html, but more, i could not believe he was so mature to know himself so well that he could break himself down into ingredients and post them on the can. And it was so beautiful that he felt he and I had a lot in common – we do 🙂 Although I have not suffered in my life the way he has, I also had to leave my home around the age of 10 because of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Granted, I was already on holiday in Egypt and Egypt is actually my parents’ country. I saw little of the war. But I was displaced. Sure, my country is in turmoil NOW, but it is not as bad as the news makes it seem. life goes on. But we have more in common than our African heritage. We have a lot of similar personality traits that he kept on the can (I will not give too much info to preserve his privacy). I sent Susan an email to forward onto him. I hope he gets it 🙂

All of this is happening while I DM someone about a possible visit to Cairo during a planned creativity event to possibly play games together, and I am tweeting with fellow teachers in the US and Canada about the upcoming twitter game we hope to play soon across our classes… Thinking of how to integrate ARG elements into it, inspired by my new friend Helen and thr Little Brother book recommended by Jonathan Worth for #ccourses unit 2…

This morning, I get this post by Susan Watson, beautiful, touching, about her student from Cote D’Ivoire. (Susan will you ever stop tugging at my heartstrings?)

And then Simon this morning invites a group of us to comment on his student’s blog. It reminds me of how Clarissa and I did that last year, asking rhizo14ers to comment on our students’ blogs. I remember how my students felt. I remember how the others were jealous, but I also felt they needed to know that people commented on substantive blogposts, not just blogposts that were made as an assignment. Over the weeks, more of my students found comments on their blogposts and swelled with pride, a light going off in their heads about the power of connection.

As Jim Groom would say: thank you, Internet 🙂

3 Comments

  1. Maha,

    I would like to hangout with you and Clarissa and Carla and Terry and Kevin and all.

    I would like to work so that these little saplings of light become a forest of hope and connection.

    I am going to share with you my work on CLAVIER and in particular the emergent tags which can be used to connect these learners around affinity.

  2. Maha I would like to hang out with and Susan, Blaise, Maritta, Leena, Paul et al.
    I would like to work so that these little saplings of light become a deep forest of hope and connection.

    I realised I had already shared CLAVIER links with you. I have shared it all with you.

    We need to find a time to meet up.

  3. This, to me, is what it’s all about.

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