I made my first posting at 8.40 in response to Nick's opening question and then I emailed a couple of people to let them know that we had started our exchange.
What are your initial questions and what are your experiences of life-wide learning? #LW1
6m norman jackson @lifewider1
A day holds many experiences and incidents but we rarely ask ourselves what did we learn today? How am I different? #LW1
3mnorman jackson @lifewider1
To try to understand my own LWL I'm going to try to be aware of what happens today. Its only 8.45 and already I'm surprised! #LW1
09.00am Looking back - I woke at 7.00 this morning and my wife was already awake. I offered to make a cup of tea but we spent the first hour in bed chatting about our children. Sharing our anxieties and trying to predict likely scenarios and future events. I'm worried about my daughter who is pregnant with twins and a five year old. There is a good chance that they will be born early. If they arrive very early I will be in Australia visiting my family. We went into problem solving mode. My wife is very practical and started thinking about other ways of helping her through paying for a maternity nurse for a few weeks.. we looked at a website with some rates.. I took a shower and it became crystal clear to me that I should cancel my trip to Australia and China if it looked they would be delivered early. I felt relieved once I had made the decision and I could tell her to relieve her anxiety.
Learning - In the space of just over an hour we had shared personal information about the children. Used our imaginations to identify challenges and issues and done some problem solving - she had come up with one solution and we found information about costs and services and I had come up with another potential solution and made a decision. We had pooled our personal knowledge about our children and the circumstances and our resources to come up with practical solutions which we hope will help our children.
10.00am I want this twitter exchange to be successful so I know that I will have to do things and learn how to engage and involve people. This is a familiar challenge for me but its an unfamiliar context. I have spent the last 30mins trying to work out a strategy for promoting our lifewide twitter exchange. I know that things dont happen by themselves you have to stimulate activity. My first thought was to email people I know who use twitter and invite them personally. I sent out five emails. I then went to linked in and updated my profile but also composed a message for the groups I belong to. I decided to hold the message until we had a few more contributions things on our twitter page. Now time for breakfast and the sun is shining. I'm happy because we have made some progress in getting this far. Postscript - by 10.54 one of the people I had invited was making significant contributions to the discussion.
11.00am this is turning out to be very interesting. In the kitchen I had a conversation with one of my daughters. She is revising for A levels and her mum and I try to encourage her with her revision. She has worked very hard on her revision for a long time and she begins her exams next week. She is also familiar with the idea of lifewide learning and with me talking about it. I asked her about her current learning and she of course said it was all focused in this intensive effort of revision (8 or 10 hours a day). But she said she didn't think this was lifewide learning - she thought of it as memorising to get through the exam. I was surprised she had made the distinction but she was saying that for her lifewide learning was something more than memorising.
Learning - my daughter's views and I perspective I hadn't considered before that certain things might not, in an individual's mind count as lifewide learning. It made me think that actually the discipline of revision (self-teaching) is actually very important in the context of going to university and life more generally so although it might seem like a test of memorisation its a discipline for all sorts of things like managing and organising time, prioritising, building stamina, being able to focus, getting better at evaluating yourself - what you know and don't know and developing tools and strategies for coping and getting yourself in the best position to be able to do well in unseen exams..
After breakfast I knew I had to make a start on the weekly house clean which I dislike but which I volunteered to do as I wasn't working any more. It takes about 3-4hours if I do it in one go. I started in the kitchen and put the telly on as background and as I cleaned I listened to a hectic debate on BBC The Big Questions - involving GPs debating the question - should doctors be forced to go against their conscience (I putting their patients interests before their own beliefs).. It was a good discussion with opinions on both sides and it opened up some challenging areas for anyone as the question could be extended to anyone's situation.
Learning - I was challenged/made to think about when it might be wrong to put our own beliefs first.
12.00 Much of my learning comes from trying to achieve something I haven't done before. One of my priorities today is to learn how to maximise the potential for learning through our twitter discussion. I carried on looking for possible resources and connections I might utilise in my linked in connections I came across a great posting by 13 ways Twitter improves education which I am going to re-post on the lifewide education website. I emailed the author to invite her to join us.
Learning here is about trying to find people who can help us by contributing useful perspectives. Learning also enabled me to act - In the evening I reposted the twitter article on the lifewide education website with a new intro. I also acted on my new relational knowledge - about the author by emailing her and within a few hours she had made a twitter posting.
Responding to a question posed by one of the participants is reflection any different to thinking? - my reaction was reflection is purposeful thinking about your own situations and what you are learning. I checked out google and found a nice expression form of words that captured this idea - Reflective thinking involves personal consideration of one’s own learning.
13.00 I have just spent the last hour cleaning the house. Perhaps because I go on autopilot when I do it my wife thinks I am not very good at it.. Its all relative - I'm a lot better than I used to be. What happens though with these sorts of routine tasks is that my mind starts working and I think about lots of things in a reflective/sense making way. It's not all retrospective though quite a lot is prospective planning trying to answer the what should I do next question. Well I have a big garden and the sun is shining and the grass is long so I know the answer to that one, which means I will probably carry on in the same mode of thinking.
14.00 Lunch was a quick affair a bowl of tomato soup with my daughter. Because the telly was on and she was watching a film we didn't talk much. After lunch I carried on cutting the grass. The thinking about all sorts of stuff mainly triggered by what I saw.. damage by rabbits and the remains of dead rabbits which I knew our friendly fox had taken as we had seen him carrying them more or less every day. I watched him go to where the rabbit burrows were and waited for 20 mins to see if I could get a photo but the battery on my camera ran out so I missed the opportunity. I went and recharged my battery and an hour later our Canada geese with six fluffy chicks obligingly came to the kitchen window so I took a photo of them. One thing I realised as I was cutting the grass was that I had a problem with the cutter on the back of the tractor - it wasn't cutting the grass evenly. So I know I couldn't put off the service I have put off for so long. [In fact I booked the service the next morning].
Learning is all about what is happening in the garden especially its wild life..and especially how to deal with the rabbits which are digging holes everywhere.. the fox is a huge blessing...I also think about what needs repairing, what can I leave and what do I need to fix.I decided that in the week I would tackle the drive which has got overgrown.. a bit everyday I'm working at home if it isn't raining.
15.00 I came in and posted a discussion on the RSA Fellowship Forum to see if I could attract some interest in our twitter conversation. Then I went to help my wife with a website she is building..She is doing well but she lacks confidence..and doesn't have much patience so she wants to give up..
17.00 - 19.00 I was listening to the five live football commentary while I was preparing the Sunday roast. Its the last day of the season and my team Man United are second behind Man City. There is so much emotional engagement through the radio and especially today as the season reaches this climax.... Man U beat Sunderland 1.0 but QPR are drawing with city until the last five minutes when they score two.. Its all over in the last five mins of the season. Both teams have the same points but city win on goal difference that is the narrowness of the margin.. In a post-match interview with the united manager Alex Ferguson reflects on the situation and responding to a question about the effects of the team said it's great to win but if you lose that memory stays with you and makes you more determined.. Wise words..but I was still a bit fed up that my team had just lost the premiership.
I cheered up when I looked out of the kitchen window and saw two small brown fox clubs. The joys of the garden. Unfortunately by the time I got my camera they had disappeared. Later I saw them on the other side of our fence. But I now have a new objective to keep a watchful eye and try to photograph them so I have left my camera on the kitchen window sill.
Learning was discovering that we now had some fox cubs and this is again causing me to act - I want a photo of them so I'm telling everyone to watch out for them and keeping my camera ready. Though disappointing the football matches were quite incredible indeed historic and the commentary triggered all sorts of emotions. Its knowledge I will need to talk be able to talk about the game with my sons and others. I guess AFs wise words reinforced my existing belief that setbacks make you more determined than ever whereas success is just a transient good feeling. Its dissatisfaction that drives you.
20.00 - 21.30 Because I had cooked dinner I was 'allowed' to read my newspaper. So after checking in to see whether the twitter discussion had evolved I picked my favourite armchair and settled down to a good read only to be interrupted by my wife needing help with her weebly website. I realised as I sat next to her explaining what to do that I was sharing my knowledge/my learning - stuff that I have only learnt myself in the last couple of months. Between us - her with her specialist knowledge and me with my knowledge of weebly we managed to make good progress.
21.30 We both felt we needed to relax so we put the TV on and watched an episode of Doc Martin which we both like. I only had one eye on the telly as I was at last reading my newspaper dipping into the stories that took my fancy. I like the Sunday papers because they cover so much ground in so many different ways and I updated my knowledge on the latest terrorist techniques, problems in Greece/Spain, 7-up TV series and many other titbits.. After Doc Martin we watched the BBC news for 20mins before turning over to watch the unbelievable end to the football season with my team winning but still loosing the title to CIty who scored twice in the last 3 mins of their game. This blokey knowledge of how it happened will stand me in good stead when I talk to other people about it.
Learning was via the experiences of reading a newspaper and watching TV. It was predominantly about finding out what was happening in the world that day or within the recent past together with bits and bobs that I just found interesting.
11.00 When I got to be my wife was reading so I read a Leadership Foundation paper that was on the table next to my bed on Developing the Whole Student by Kathleen Quinlan. What she was saying was so relevant to what we are trying to do that I immediately started writing a letter to her with a view to trying to involve her.
Learning involved relational knowledge about finding someone who we could potentially form an alliance with and then using that knowledge to act - to try to communicate with the person.
Reflections on the day: Looking back over the day I had had a lot of different sorts of experiences and I learnt things in a variety of ways - through physical experience, conversations, observations, listening, accessing and processing information. Most of what I learnt was 'in passing'. It was incidental and subtle and was just part of the experience. But I did have quite a lot of intentional learning because I was grappling with how twitter worked and also focusing on my own learning for the day as this had become a major objective for me. I would not normally think about what I had learnt in this way it was only because I was trying to be conscious about it and I took the trouble to record my experiences and think about them while I was having them and after the event that I became aware of what I had learnt.
I had experienced numerous conversations with my family and through these learnt things that were related to our day to day circumstances, their needs and interests. I had learnt stuff about my house and garden and the animals living with us in the garden. Learning that we had some fox cubs on our doorstep was particularly pleasurable. Realising I had a problem with my tractor will make me book a service.
Not surprisingly, given that the day was spent in the home, much of the knowledge I had developed was relational to do with my family. I had gained some of it by thinking over situations that affected me and my family.
I had accessed a range of information sources - internet - websites, blogs, twitter, email social networking sites; radio and TV, newspaper and an academic paper through which I could develop new knowledge. I had acted on quite a bit of this knowledge. I had responded to twitter, emailed a number of people from my networks and started to compose a letter.
Thanks to the media I had access to I had new knowledge about what had happened in the world that day, all be it highly selective, and I had had a sort of shared experience with all other Man U and Man City supporters (thanks to radio and TV) I had emotional and factual knowledge about the way the football season ended. Because I had engaged with twitter and tried to draw people into discussion about lifewide learning I had knew knowledge about how I had tried to make it happen and had found some new and useful resources in the process.
Reflecting on the web article I had acquired on reflection - Reflective thinking involves personal consideration of one’s own learning. It considers personal achievements and failures and asks what worked, what didn’t, and what needs improvement (Given, 2002). It asks the learner to think about her own thinking. I realise that my own reflections were not so much focused on what the writer claimed to be the purpose of reflection. Rather, as the day progressed I was concerned mainly to use bits of knowledge I was developing to act - to try to achieve something.
Looking back it has been a worthwhile exercise to record what I thought I had learnt through the day.