Yawning and slow education

Today is a slow learning day. A little tweet by @alisoniredale on a Slow  Education event up here in the NW reminded me of a lovely little hardback I have on my shelves.  The authors state in the introduction that the book’s purpose is ‘to prove that the best things in life really are free … and that we can enter a world of joy and freedom.’ The contents include such delights as; cloud watching, sticking matchsticks in vegetables to make vegetable aliens, waiting for the tea to brew, philosophising, building houses of cards and yawning. I’ve already achieved 3 of these today and aim to get a few more in before bedtime. I’m not aiming for any specific one’s I’m just relying on serendipity. I just hope it’s not ‘watching hail bounce off the pavement.’

Anyway, back to the tweet. I followed the link to the Slow Education movement and really love its stated beliefs:

Promoting deep learning in the context of a broad curriculum that recognises the talents of all students.

We believe the quality of the educational engagement between teacher and learner is more important than judging student ability by standardised tests.

We support investment in education and in teaching as a profession as the essential moral foundation of society.

There’s a tab to a few videos , who’s involved and links to media coverage. The Independent newspaper link didn’t work for me but I found it here. It does appear to have intermittent linking errors tho’. Is Tom Hodgkinson of The Independent the same Tom Hodgkinson who co-wrote my book ‘The Book of  Idle Pleasures?’

I’m wondering if there are connections between ‘slow learning’ and the conations mentioned in experiential learning. See previous blog. You might want to look at other resources too:

What is slow learning?

Finding the time for slow education

Are you ready to join the slow education movement?

Imagine looking through a window. The window has a set of curtains which you are holding in your hands. Those curtains are closed. You hear a car outside and you want to see it. If you open and close the curtains very, very quickly you might not be able to tell if the car is moving or not. You will see there is a car there, but the length of time you were able to spend looking at the car might not have been long enough for you to determine whether it was parked or in motion. If you had kept the curtains open for a little longer, you would have been able to see clearly whether the car was moving.

This is a beautiful explanation of controlling shutter speed in photography. A slow shutter speed or keeping the curtains open for longer gives an image of movement.  I think, in education, we sometimes close the curtains too quickly either on our students or on the topics, and, whilst we need to keep them open longer we also need to let students have some control over how long they wish the curtains to be open.

Now, where can I find a box of matches?

Liquorice and dark chocolate

It’s the third day of my blogging journal (challenge) and I’ve been re-reading a little about an anti-racist education model by Guo and Jamai in: Innovations in Lifelong Learning. I first came across this when discussing ‘Inclusive Assessment’ with Alison Iredale and at the time I was, and still am of the view that it gives us much to think about in our education strategy, policies and practice. The authors believe that we need to consider aspects of privilege, difference and power and suggest some objectives:

  1. Integrate multiple centres of knowledge by adding diverse sources of knowledge to Eurocentric education; integrate indigenous, spiritual and community knowledge into the curriculum; create spaces for marginalised voices and promote alternative ways of knowing.
  2. Recognise and respect difference  by considering and valuing complex identities; ensuring teaching practices acknowledge and validate identities and understanding how forms of difference intersect and interlock. Teaching about difference and power; re-thinking learning and authority and recognise own assumptions, beliefs and values.
  3. Effecting social and educational change through equity, access and social justice by systemic and fundamental organisational change which addresses inequities in structures and environments.
  4. Teaching for community empowerment  by drawing margins into the centre; increasing individual and group self-esteem through active involvement and mutual respect.

The exposure and re-thinking of power relations, together with the construct of  inclusion resonates with a paper I co-wrote with Alison which can be read here.

Whilst writing this the work of the Northern College  enters my thoughts. Especially when talking of social justice, equality, difference and identity. There’s much food for thought on their activities in this blog.

On a food note I’ve found a sublime new taste combination: liquorice (see Learning Adventure – 1) and dark chocolate (see Learning Adventure – 2).

Blogging from the edge: thoughts on Biesta and care

Don’t I heard as I teetered on the edge!
I’ve thought, read, scribbled, scrunched, scratched and re-read since my last blog (1 February 2014).Scrunched lots of paper into balls for feline toys, which don’t exist for my cats until humans have left the room. Scribbling in school exercise books which aim to engender the discipline of writing correctly and legibly, I’ve scratched my way through inches of pencils. Continue reading