Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 42 seconds

Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Pushing: A Matter of Perspective & Faith

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 42 seconds

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Simon Ensor just wrote a really thoughtful post in response to Dave Cormier’s introduction to #rhizo15

He asks a lot of important questions, like:

So can you really separate people from their ideas? 

How do we know what the acceptable idea-pushing limits for people are?

It’s quite a matter of perspective as my daughter just reminded me.
Yesterday she was playing a littel roughly and hit me (it didn’t seem intentional) so i had a talk with her about this and tried to explain why she shouldn’t hit others so she doesn’t hurt them (she’s 3.5). Her response? “But I wasn’t hurting you, I was tickling you”. Umm. Well, the problem is that you can intend something lightly and still hurt someone. If they tell you they’re hurt, you should consider apologizing and not joking that way again. Err, that’s what I told my kid.

Today, she was a bit frustrated and was about to lash out again (it’s one of those weeks of not great parenting) and I said, “what, you wanna tickle me now?” (giving her the benefit of the doubt) and she said, “no, I want to hit you “. I had to leave the room. Didn’t want to laugh in her face when err she should be sorry.

Anyway
Simon also says:

We all have different limits which are often unknown to us until they are tested by others.

Agree – which means you can’t really make a contract a priori in a learning experience. Or a marriage. Or any human relationships I guess. Well you can and people do. I just mean you can’t really know all you need to know until you are in it.

My favorite point that Simon makes is this one:

I don’t believe you can separate people from their ideas. 

But I am not sure it contradicts what Dave was saying. Dunno if my mind is clear enough on this…but suggesting we push ideas not people doesn’t mean people are separable from their ideas. But it means, I think, that you can maintain a good relationship with someone even if you disagree with some of their ideas. After all, we are whole beings and our ideas are many coming from many different hidden or unhidden sides of us. Simon mentions how we are more accepting of some ideas from certain people more than others. True. We also know how to communicate with certain people better than others. Sometimes intuitively. Sometimes intentionally. Often we fail, because between sender and recipient there are layers of interpretation, noise and a medium that we use to communicate. All manner of things can go wrong. Or even when they go right we can hurt each other because we have different worldviews and cannot pretend to be anyone other than who we are.

Which reminds me of what Sarah Honeychurch added to my silly learning recipe doc for cMOOCs (this seems to have started as a joke on the facebook group coz we all said we were hopeless at recipes but r playing along anyway): “be yourself” – she’s right, because it’s really pointless to try to be anyone else.

The first step, I think to learning is to have faith that it’s possible. If you believe you can learn online, that these are real people behind the screen you can build relationships with, that you can find ways to understand each other somehow – you will make an effort and you have a good chance to succeed. Faith is not enough but it’s a heck of a lot. Attitude isn’t everything but it matters a lot. As Seth Godin said in a recent brief blogpost:

Someone who shows up with enthusiasm made a decision before she even encountered what was going on. The same thing is true for the guy who scowls with contempt before the customer opens his mouth.

It’s a choice.

This choice is contagious.

Wish i could tell myself that about other areas of my life beyond just learning 🙂 but maybe it’s because i also believe in my power to control my own learning more than other things. Because yes, we learn with others and sometimes get so close we almost live in each other’s heads, but also learning is personal and internal and not necessarily social (I agree, Simon, because even tho this is a social statement my agreement stems from my individual belief as well).

Rambling now so I will stop 🙂

One Comment

  1. Your comment about “controlling our learning” is key here. What a good community/network/group does is soften the ground for those steps forward. We need to be the ones to take the step, in the need. Not sure the push metaphor is the right one. But look how many posts Dave has set forth already? Dang. He’s good.
    🙂
    Kevin

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