In an experience or experiencing?

Something is proving very difficult for me to pin down at the moment. Am I experiencing  or am I having an experience? Don’t ask me why this question matters. Or, why on earth it entered my head. All I can say in response is that it has.

Dennis Atkinson describes experiencing as a temporal process, a series of temporal flows; whilst experience is a more substantial entity. An experience is something that happened, a reduction of the flow of experiencing temporalities to the form of a series of signifiers. So, when experiencing I’m having temporal interactions with my environment, my landscape, my being. I’ve read that some individuals with depression experience changes in their temporal experiences of time. The flow of being in an experience, absorbed, tends to change our perception of time. On the one hand time goes more slowly yet it appears to whoosh by unnoticed.

Husserl appears to have considered temporalising and here’s a great paper considering temporalising consciousness. I’m going to need to consider this more, however, the stand out words at the moment are: “The present is not simple. It is fundamentally complex.” So, temporal flows abound during the process of experiencing, perhaps chaotically, disorganised, numerous and jumping back and forwards in time. I can somehow go with this. It creates an image of neural networks sparking reactions multidimensionally, multilayered and in all shades of colour. I feel that experiencing and experience are both simultaneous and asynchronous.

Atkinson states that there’s a reduction in temporal flows when experiencing transforms to experience. Perhaps this is our cognitive filing system coming into the foreground, anchoring meaningful temporal flows with our existing representations of subjects and establishing new ones where the temporal flow is unknown, unrecognised. I can potentially see where an overload of temporal flows which cannot be reduced and linked to signifiers might be almost ‘dangerous.’ I can also see where this idea of disrupting the flow of experiencing can lead to learning through possible disorientation, and, as Atkinson states disjunctive temporality, ruptures, punctures and disturbances in our experience of a subject or topic.

I don’t know enough about education, teaching or learning. All I know is that my temporal flow take me to Gert Biesta’s discussion of learning as a reaction to a disturbance:

“If we look at learning in this way, we can say that someone has learned something not when she is able to copy and reproduce what already existed, but when she responds to what is unfamiliar, what is different, what challenges, irritates, or even disturbs. Here learning becomes a creation or an invention, a process of bringing something new into the world: one’s own, unique response…. Instead of seeing learning as an attempt to acquire, to master, to internalize, or any other possessive metaphors we can think of, we might see learning as a reaction to a disturbance, as an attempt to reorganize and reintegrate as a result of disintegration” 

Is learning a series of temporal flows (experiencing) which have been reduced to a series of signifiers? Or is it because some temporal flows are themselves forms of signifiers which are unknown, and therefore result in reorganisation of an experience?

Perhaps this leaves me with more questions than answers. 

Dennis Atkinson: Art, equality and learning. Pedagogies against the state

Gert Biesta: Beyond learning. Democratic education for a human future

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?

Dipping into photography

My ‘perceptual consciousness’ is literally buzzing with learning stuff today. I’m writing this a little late tonight as I’ve just got home from a photography course at The Artworks in Halifax. More about this another day as I’ve yet to process all the information which is competing for my brain space at the moment. Oh, I will just mention though that on the website link above you’ll see that there’s a photography exhibition coming up very soon.

However, I do feel that the two photography courses I’ve done at The Artworks: Beginners and Intermediate, although I like to call the last one the ‘Not quite such a beginner course,’ have been true examples of experiential learning. I’m using Tom Boydell’s definition here, ‘ the learner is involved in sorting things out for himself’ through consciously generating cognitions, affects and conations. I identify with Boydell giving the student some responsibility, especially for the why, the purpose. I also just love the image of ideas as non-physical realities, flying about inside one’s mind and how this confusion is the very essence of the learning process. I’ve written before about troublesome learning spaces. I admit to being seriously confused by the buttons and menu systems on my DSLR camera. It’s taken me  8- 10 weeks to learn focussing, and this isn’t a reflection on the tutor or the course, it’s just that I needed experience and time for it to become internalised and part of me. Paul had lesson plans and objectives for each session, but as we began to share our images we discovered photographers, art, how to see beauty in images and developed the confidence to go out and take photographs. I’m sure we learnt far more through our meanderings and serendipitous conversations than he’d initially identified in those plans!

The goals set have been invaluable; week 1 let’s go out and take some photographs and then come in and share the one we like the best. How scary is that? It’s the first week! The homework that week was off the scary scale: take 36 photos. But guess what, most of us did! The following week the homework was to take just 1 photo. I know what you’re thinking “Simples,” but we were expected to explain the composition. The thing is that most of us have done our homework and, may have 3 photos to display in the forthcoming exhibition. Imagine that. After just 12 weeks! This has been a course where we’ve had a sharing and supportive climate. We look at each other’s photos every week and my fellow students and Paul see things in them we haven’t seen ourselves. We can be critical, but there’s always a reason for a photograph not quite ‘doing it,’ and we are beginning to see why.

I think we all ‘tuned in.’ Paul, created a climate where he knew and sensed what was needed. We ‘tuned in’ to Paul.

Oh! I mustn’t forget to mention coming across Fibonacci’s numbers. Paul did warn us that there’s a lot of maths in photography.

I realise I need to include a photo or two now, so here you are.

Media City_          Market St fashion window

annie’s butterfly mind

I love being retired. To be honest it’s arrived earlier than I ever anticipated or expected.  A few months in I have done a little part-time work (marking and teaching), but love how my retired days are spaces for learning new stuff.  I make lists of events and information that occur during my days, notes of things I want to follow-up on and, when I think I have something to write about scratch out a little reflective blog. When I recently created a drawing from one of my lists I realised how much information, new learning and texture there is in my new retirement space. I learn a lot every day. And when I say a lot, I mean A LOT!

I’ve thought about keeping a log, a portfolio, and even set up a journal in the way of Ian Progoff, but it’s just too much. It’s way too organised for someone with a butterfly mind. Meanwhile pieces of paper are accumulating. I know I’m learning lots but I feel that I would like to record it somewhere, somehow. So I’ve decided to use my blog as a way of connecting and recording this learning.

Here goes and, thanks for reading my blog.