Reflexions on Week 4 – Community
In a really good way, Week 4 went deep. There was a sense of valediction as those of us who had been involved since the beginning anticipated the end of the ‘uncourse’; others joined us for the first time, lamenting that it was nearly over.
It’s been a good four weeks.
‘Community’ was notable for the connections people made with their own histories, their own ‘auto-ethnographies’. Most people did not come into social purpose education because they wanted to be a ‘teacher’. We all have numerous stories of trying to make a difference elsewhere, before we washed up here. What this week’s theme brought back into sharp focus was the importance of the collective vs the individual.
Over on Google+ sixteen people were blogging for themselves and appreciating others’ writing. The week’s theme was a springboard for discussion around learner ‘resistance’, shared and not-shared values (of course), bystanding (if you do one thing online this week, check out Stonewall’s ‘Bystanders’ video on YouTube), the damage words can do (or not). If you visit the Writing Room you will also see the nuance and depth of the comments on each page.
I love #TDReflex14 so selfishly because of all the thinking it sparks off in me. Having spent much time with NIACE recently, in the build up to Adult Learners Week I too have been thinking about the power of stories and complexities around the sharing of these…is there a point at which you so identify with your story that you can’t move on? Do policy-makers affirm themselves with individual stories to avoid messy fundamental change? Do stories work at the individual, rather than at the collective, level? My instinct is to say yes, and then I think of Stephen Sutton…does our collective response to tragedy go further than the shared emotion of the zeitgeist? Can we harness that energy to effect fundamental change?
In the Facebook group there were some fascinating conversations around compliance and obedience, self-awareness/self-absorption and the ‘hidden curriculum’. There were points during the week where I stepped back and watched the conversation flow across and around various groups, including the #Rhizo14 people who never went home. In the final week of the #TDReflex14 ‘uncourse’, it was interesting to see #Rhizo14 enter a new pattern of flow, as discussions began around where to go next with the programme. We certainly, will be continuing the joy that is the Wednesday evening blogging group and none of the spaces will close as long as there is life in them. Email email@example.com if you want to come and blog with us!
Above all, what the week has most brought to the fore for me is a deep appreciation of that most neglected of community roles: the lurker. We often are most drawn to the people most like us, taking the actions we’re most likely to take. I’m not a natural lurker. That’s why it has probably taken me such a long time to make the connection between what is known as ‘lurking’ online (which Jenni Hayman redefines as ‘observing’) and the generative, attentive listening of the Thinking Environment. From now on, I’ll be listening harder.
Many thanks to everyone who joined us to make #TDReflex14 such a success, whether you found a space to speak up, or not. Like many rhizomatic experiences, this ‘uncourse’ was unfunded, apart from the dedicated time of those involved in creating a curriculum which was engaging, fascinating and meaningful. We truly are ‘philosophers of praxis’ and I hope that we keep co-creating new thinking in this way.
As we enter our last week of #TDReflex 14, the theme that’s emerging is ‘Community’.
Has the community been the curriculum during #TDReflex14? What has this community meant to you? What have you learned about engaging online? How have you engaged – actively, lurking, not at all? What have you learned about you and your practice as an educator? Have you been able to be present as yourself? What does this whole experience add to your thinking around obedience, agency, self-responsibility?
And, as we look to the future:
Where do you want to go next? How can we maintain this online Community of Praxis? How can we continue to share and co-create knowledge? And what might change for the world, if we can keep it and grow it more?
Please join us for this, our final week. Remember we’re on Twitter at #TDReflex14 and in the TDReflex14 Facebook group (and Yammer, if you’re signed up to the TeachNorthern network). We’re blogging together on Wednesday 21st May 2014 at 8pm over on Google+ email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get involved 🙂