Being + Becoming a Reflective Practitioner

After Lewin + Kolb

…towards The Good Life

“The mark of a prudent woman* [is] to be able to deliberate rightly about what is good and what is advantageous for herself; not in particular respects, e.g. what is good for health or physical strength, but what is conducive to the good life generally. (Aristotle 2004: 209)

“Thus, for Aristotle, praxis is guided by a moral disposition to act truly and rightly; a concern to further human well being and the good life. This is what the Greeks called phronesis and requires an understanding of other people.”

What if…

  • I did a blog post (nearly) every morning, in the style of Morning Pages. Starting with just 30 minutes.
  • Bridged the divide between public and private, creating a reflective space that is primarily for me, but can be shared publicly (using my reflective journal in a different way)
  • Enjoyed it!
  • Shared it and got the odd useful, motivating comment or reference happening.

Surely this would help find out what is conducive to The Good Life…. [ or indeed a Good Death in the case of our new Metta Eggs project (more on that soon). They go hand in hand.] Let’s see how it goes. Feel free to join in.

Feels a bit clunky to start with, but things emerge.

leunig_cartoon

Learning Context

For those that aren’t in the picture, I started an MA in Participatory + Community Art at Goldsmiths (University of London) in September 2012. So far so good! Great to have a frame on things and much fresh input. Much more to say on that. Very pleased to have Chrissie Tiller leading it. Her vast experience of Theatre in Education (and the wider area of practice) make for dynamic learning sessions. There’s a space for dialogue, which can be extended here. Our VLE, plus A-N, Engage, RSA etc might be other good ways to share some conversations too.

Choosing Tools + Methods

As ever, I have some confusion about the range of tools and methods available. A wealth of possibilities!

Blogging

Why I think a blog works well is:

  • I type fast and write messy
  • Hyperlinking helps me do and share references / links and see it all as connected, like a neural network
  • Being visual can be easy!
  • I already have skills and experience
  • It’s good to share the journey/process with colleagues and fellow students
  • Tagging might or might not happen. Can link posts to Twitter and Facebook.

Journalling

A journal is somewhere I can more readily draw, scribble and be as intimate and gnatsy as I want to be. Don’t really know what that means but enjoying it.

I am working with Dr Gillie Bolton, an expert in reflective writing, to explore how to construct knowledge around my own experience in the field of community + participatory arts. She’s a wonderful human being and it’s such a pleasure to have another older, wiser woman / researcher / practitioner there to support me so whole heartedly. This applies to the development of writing facilitation for participants within Metta Eggs projects as well as my own meta-reflection. Ha! Managed to use my two favourite M words in one sentence…

“We write before knowing what to say and how to say it, and in order to find out, if possible.”

Jean-Francois Lyotard 1992

Words, Key Concepts + Models

A space to (re) learn the language of the road. I loved INFED when doing part one of the MA in Person-Centred Education so will return there often. Such a great resource thanks Dr Scherto Gill.

Praxis

I first came across the word when I was 17, doing Drama Praxis at Murdoch University, Perth’s damn-fine equivalent of Goldsmiths. Along with that intense trunk course “Structure, Thought + Reality“.

My mind was never the same again. Serge Tampalini (our teacher) trying to snog me didn’t help mind you, nor partnering up with (Prince?) Yosef Yahuddah Almazoff Traffimoff. All good grist though.

Paulo Freire defines praxis as “reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it” in Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

http://www.infed.org/biblio/b-praxis.htm

One things for sure, I’ve had a shit loads of concrete experience to work with. But that’s another story. I think I will drop little hints along the way, just to remind myself. A little personal, a little professional. Where oh where do our “selves” begin and end… All connected of course.

praxis_wordle

Phronesis

the_practical_making_judgements

From Shirley Grundy at Infed.

Experiential learning (after Lewin + Kolb)

“Experiential learning thus involves a, ‘direct encounter with the phenomena being studied rather than merely thinking about the encounter, or only considering the possibility of doing something about it.’ (Borzak 1981: 9 quoted in Brookfield 1983).”

“The second type of experiential learning is ‘education that occurs as a direct participation in the events of life’ (Houle 1980: 221).”

http://www.infed.org/foundations/f-explrn.htm

(See diagram above)

Action points

To bring this process into real praxis, I want to end each post with something concrete to take forward. Reflection in action based on what’s come up. But really this whole thing needs to evolve into something more public and less private I’m guessing… if I want readership / dialogue.

  • Definitely give space to this, then come back and go deeper with more time.
  • Weekly (after each lecture / workshop at college) might suffice but will try for daily here and/or in journal. Can photograph sections of journal potentially. Depends on if group learning develops with others reading this.
  • Definitely get a Professional Placement at a hospice soon. More front-line experience required for a dynamic praxis.
  • Make next appointment with Gillie and get cracking on the great tasks she set before Christmas:
  • Make meeting times with myself
  • Make Metta Eggs for myself – workshop and/or commission – write + reflect as client or gift sponsor / facilitator
  • Socratic dialogue

(* Feeling a strong need to personalise and feminise the language. Will do this for a while and see how it goes. Clearly problematic but interestingly so.)

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