Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

On Learning as Noticing Everything #HortonFreire 

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This is going to be a quick one. I was chatting with my colleague at work yday about something, including how I was planning to integrate a children’s book into my OER17 keynote…and while talking about it, she told me a story to extend the idea I was working towards which then gave me an idea to add to my keynote, and I ran to get my phone and write notes on my very long Gdoc of OER17 keynote ideas. And asked her permission to use it and cite her.

It reminded me of a note I took while reading #HortonFreire

Horton, on p. 40, says, “you look for a process through which you can learn, read and learn”.

I think probably the most important skill or habit or attitude I acquired while doing my PhD is to treat EVERYTHING as an opportunity for learning and reflection. Books that were fiction. My personal life. An incident in the street. Parenting. Parenting. Parenting. Teaching, all of these things. I am sure there is a word for this (that a wise person like Kate Bowles or Frances Bell will point me to) but it’s a process where you observe/notice and almost theorize your life as you live it. That’s why i write so much. I make so many connections in my brain between things and if i don’t write them down I start to go crazy. Writing grounds me. If I read/experience something (important) then don’t write about it i can feel kinda overwhelmed and lost. I feel so blessed to have so many spaces to reflect aloud with people who can help me extend my thinking. 

People have asked me where I get creative/innovative/alternative teaching ideas from. It’s by keeping my eyes and ears open, and noticing what others do, but also making connections between what others do and my possible future teaching. And imagining different things by connecting all of those things. Often unrelated things.

I remember now how I was reading Freire’s Education for Critical Consciousness  while watching the film Luther (i multitask) and recognizing how the chaos that happened in the film is almost exactly what Freire talks about when he talks about early stages of consciousness raising resulting in chaos and that people just beginning to recognize their oppression need support in order to transfer that energy into something constructive rather than violent and destructive (I don’t remember exactly what Freire said but you get my drift). It reminded me of how a professor i had interviewed in my PhD (this was early stages of my PhD) said how “anger is good” but that as teachers we needed to help students prioritize their anger and channel it in useful ways. It also reminded me of how community-based learning experiences can frustrate students if they become more conscious of a problem over the course of a semester but then aren’t given opportunities or tools to work towards solving it.

Another connection happened between conversations on Mastodon about community, other convos on Twitter with sava singh and others (i took a blogpost sava had shared, i connected it to a convo on Mastodon and then ppl brought back to Twitter – and all that also connected to some stuff Alec Couros was saying on Vconnecting and all of that connects to a conference proposal about vconnecting we just submitted)

Anyway I will stop here 🙂

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