Welcome to the unguided tour of The Reflexion Programme at The Northern College (or #TDReflex14 as it’s known online). Whether or not you are participating in the Reflexion Study Days at the College (see here for more details), your participation is equally appreciated.
(And, just to be clear, the ‘course’ refers to the Reflexion Study Days, the ‘uncourse’ to everything else that happens on- and off-line).
Your guide for the tour is Lou Mycroft. You’ll also meet Kay Sidebottom (@kaysoclearn) and Chris Bradbury (@chrysbradbury) if you join us. Please do watch the video below.
Spaces are beginning to open up now for pre-course communication – see below. The uncourse properly begins on 28th April 2014 and runs for 4 weeks:
Week 1 (28th April) – Finding a Voice
Week 2 (5th May) – to be confirmed (depending on what comes out of Week 1)
Week 3 (12th May) – to be confirmed (depending on what comes out of Week 2)
Week 4 (19th May) – to be confirmed (depending on what comes out of Week 3)
This is our approach: the community is the curriculum. That means that, with you, we want to go wherever this experience takes us. We’re seizing the opportunity provided by the Education and Training Foundation’s Joint Practitioner funding for the Reflexion Study Days mentioned above, to offer this #TDReflex14 ‘uncourse’ to broaden and deepen our collective reflexive thinking over the next few months. In theory, this philosophy is called rhizomatic learning.
What is Reflexion? Our work is explicitly values-based; we teach for a social purpose. Reflexive practice is one cornerstone of the Social Purpose Education model we’ve developed at The Northern College (find out more here). We define reflexion as figuring out why you do what you do, with reference to our own values and what’s happening in the world around us. It goes deeper than the ‘that didn’t work, I’ll try this…that didn’t work, I’ll try this…‘ see-saw of reflection, which we effortlessly use to beat ourselves up. Reflexion with an ‘x’ goes beyond the ‘how’ to the ‘why’, as we explore here.
What is Rhizomatic Learning? A rhizome is a plant which is still there, underground, even when you think you’ve dug it all up, and it just keeps on growing. That’s the community: as we call it, ‘The Community of Praxis‘. No matter what, we still keep on doing what we do. In rhizomatic learning, the community is the curriculum and that’s what makes it perfect for educator CPD; we are all experts, learning together, with Lou, Kay and Chris creating the conditions (often with Thinking Environment applications) that work well for us to think beautifully together. And then, we’ll see what grows…
What is the Community of Praxis? Our home-grown rhizome, a coming together of tutors, students, graduates and critical friends across the ether. We love theory (well, some of it anyway, as we explore here) but we’re going to ‘fess up now that the ‘godfathers of the rhizome’ Deleuze and Guattari were unknown to us before we found out about the rhizome metaphor via @davecormier’s uncourse #rhizo14. What did drive us was Lave and Wenger’s work around communities of practice, which combined beautifully with our social purpose education approach to create ‘praxis’, as Paulo Freire defined it: ‘action and reflection upon the world in order to change it.’
So how can you get involved with #TDReflex14? Simply select one or more of the following access points…
1. Come along to The Reflexion Programme at The Northern College There are still places left, find our more here. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a place, it’s free and we may even be able to pay your employer for you to attend (in the hope that they’ll pass that onto you :-))
2. Follow us on Twitter using the hashtag #TDReflex14 Scared of Twitter? Not sure how to use a hashtag? We’ll teach you how! Just let us know in any way you choose. You can also follow us @teachnorthern @kaysoclearn @chrysbradbury
3. Join our Facebook Group TDReflex14 This is a closed group where Lou, Chris and Kay will all be hanging out: just ask to join the group or Friend Request Lou Northern. (If you join the group, we don’t need to see your status updates, just your contribution to the group :-))
4. Talk to us on Yammer Yammer is a private networking space which has set itself up as a professional alternative to Facebook. We’ll send everyone (with an email) who attends the Reflexion Programme Study Days an invite, but the world is welcome – email email@example.com if you want to join in.
5. Come along to our Creative Writing sessions at The Northern College These workshops begin on 29th March 2014 (9.30am-12.30pm) and are led by Chris Bradbury for those who prefer face-to-face interaction – watch this space for more dates to follow.
6. BLOG! We’d love to get you blogging your own reflexions and our online Writing Room (here) is the safest place you can imagine for getting started with this. It happens in Google+ space and all you’ll need is a gmail account (we can help with this too). Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get involved.
Over the weeks, there might be new spaces and places, both virtual and real-time, where we gather and this page will be regularly updated to let you know, so keep checking back. Whether you’re a lurker, a contributor, a leader, a connector – or any of those other labels – you are welcome and our pledge to you is that we’ll keep those spaces safe for you to do some brilliant creative thinking.
The Community is the Curriculum – see you there!