There was a lot more to this day but I'm going to finish it here because it was like no other day of my life - I'm very happy
Sometimes life is so intense its hard to take everything in. The last 12 hours has been one of those times. It began with a 40 year reunion. Six of us who graduated in 1972 with a BSc in geology from Kings College London University met up in Cheltenham. I hadn't seen three of them since the day we parted 40 years ago. It's a cliché I know but the way we talked and behaved was as if it was yesterday and we all said that while our bodies had grown older, and we had all experienced rich and eventful lives, we were inside basically the same person. We talked into the wee hours of the next morning and swapped stories of our student days, shared our photos of student days, and talked about our lives and our families. We shared our knowledge of our peers who couldn't join us. We empathised with each other's trials and tribulations and it felt like a very human thing to do. And then it was all over far too quickly but we had renewed our bonds and I like to think we are more likely now, thanks to the technology we now have, to stay in touch.
I only had a few hours sleep that night and I woke before 6 to a beautiful sunny morning. Then my wife called me with some 'stunning news.' In the night my daughter had given birth (9 weeks early) to twin boys. Immediately after breakfast I drove to the hospital and got there at 11am. I've always thought that long drives are a particular space and place in which reflection happens and there have been many times in my life where I have had significant emotional experiences while driving. Today was one of them with the thoughts of the evening before jostling with the momentus events of the birth of the twins and my concern for my daughter, our 5 year old granddson and her husband. My daughter had said in her text that everything was fine but I knew she was trying to reassure me. I can't imagine what she was feeling like. It was great to see her and hug her and see that she was fine and after an emotional half hour of telling me the detail of the nights events (it was all very dramatic) she took me into the special care unit to see her babies in the incubators. I've seen these units on TV but it is nothing like experiencing it. It is a very special place full of high tech gear, medical staff who are checking and administering to the babies and happy but anxious parents and families looking on to their tiny babies. It was simply awesome seeing my new grandchildren for the first time and learning their names.. As she lifted the cover and I peered into the incubator I saw each in turn - they are tiny but beautiful and perfectly formed - 1.33 and 1.48kg.. I can honestly say I don't think I have ever felt like I did. The mixture of feelings - wonderment, joy, empathy, pride, the past (thinking of my daughter's birth -she was also premature and her mother who is no longer with us) -the cacophony of emotions, memories and the sights, sounds and other senses of the space and the moment are quite indescribable.
There was a lot more to this day but I'm going to finish it here because it was like no other day of my life - I'm very happy
My youngest daughter taught me a new concept today. She asked me to print an essay she had written and like any nosey parent I read it only asking for permission later! Here is a short extract.
...... I will be talking about what affects my idiolect - the different ways in which I speak to people in different situations. One of the main things I found affects what I say and how I say it is who I am talking to. For example, with my friends I would talk casually and on the same level as them, using more slang words like “yer” and “cos”, as well as lot of likes in my sentences, the same might be true when I am having a causal conversation with an adult I am confident and familiar with, like with my mum, I would probably use several of the same words that I would with my friends, for example I would use “yer” but maybe not use “like” as often. On the other hand if I am with an adult that I have not met before or I have to be respectful to whether I want to be or not, I would not use any slang at all and would have a more formal tone to the conversation. I do this because it is the way I have been brought up, unless an adult invites you to talk to them equally and on the same level, you always talk to them with respect, often putting personal thoughts and opinions aside. In doing so I think it makes the adults think that I agree with what they are saying, which pleases them but irritates me.
I looked up the definition on wikepedia and it said.. In linguistics, an idiolect is a variety of language that is unique to a person, as manifested by the patterns of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation that the person uses. As I thought about it I began to realise that our idiolect my must be an important feature of our lifewide learning. In the different spaces which we occupy we interact with different people and talk to them in different ways. Using my daughter as an example the way shoe talks to her friends at school or on skype or texting is very different to the way she talks to her parents and teachers, and is certainly different to the way she talks to other adult when they visit us. Each life space creates different situations and spoken language is an essential feature of the situations in those life spaces.
Perhaps as adults we have less variation in our idiolect..but there again the language / jargon we use in work situations, or the way we speak to different people in the work environment depending on the relationships we have and their organisational role, bosses versus colleagues for example are likely to be different to the way we talk to our wives, brothers and sisters, children, grandchildren, friends....
So I'm very grateful to my daughter for drawing my attention to something I havent really thought about before in the context of lifewide learning.
I made a mistake. We had commissioned an artist to provide some illustrations. I thought they were not very imaginative. passed them to the author who also felt they weren't very good. I suggested that she sends her suggestions to the illustrator. Not surprisingly he didnt like it. He felt his work was not appreciated and felt that working process, that had worked well so far, had been compromised. I knew I had to apologise and try to re-build bridges and create better conditions for working. He is a great illustrator and I didn't want to lose him.
Applying wisdom - In my life I have made many mistakes that have the potential to damage relationships but way back I learnt that these situations often hold much potential for strengthening a relationship.It all depends on how you respond. I am delighted to say that this is exactly what happened on this occasion. Here is the email which shows how I tried to deal with the situation I had created.
MY EMAIL TO TRY AND DEAL WITH THE SITUATION
I apologise for any confusion. I indicated in my email that I was sending your illustrations to the author of the booklet to get her responses. I hadn't in any way signed off the work. I am at fault for suggesting the author contacted you directly rather than directing her responses through me believing that you should talk to her directly. In future I will make sure that all conversations are directed through me to avoid any confusion.
1) I shall be more specific in my brief
2) I will be the single point of contact for discussion and approval
3) I will try to give you at least two weeks
In return I will expect you to provide preliminary sketches for discussion/approval
I accept responsibility for the situation and if you are happy to continue we will
1) Cover the cost of the original brief the agreed £xxx fee once the revised cover image is supplied
2) Treat the additions as a new commission ie five new illustrations £xxx with sketches for approval followed by completion in two weeks.
Is this acceptable?
I do appreciate that you have chosen to work with us because you enjoy the work and you also believe in what we are doing. It is very important to me to know this because I want to work with people who also see the value in what we are trying to do. I also wanted to say that we do appreciate your work very much. After me, J.. (the author) is one of your biggest fans and when I invityed her to pick an illustrator she chose you rather than several others we have worked with.
Once again sincere apologies for the confusion. I hope that you will want to continue working with us.
Sent: Wednesday, 23 May 2012, 14:27
Subject: RE: chalk mountain commission
I think we have managed to strike and understanding, and the fault rests equally on both our shoulders, we can agree on that and start afresh. I am happy with your porposal and I will try my best to stick to my side of the agreement. I would also like to keep our flexibility arrangements in place, I am happy to edit works unitl both parties are satisfied.
To confirm what you have written, the deadline for the works is no longer this Friday, I get two weeks to work on the illustrations.
If possible, can I start on the works from this coming Monday, including the front cover. I ask because, the way I work, the first illustration sets the tone and informs the rest and I usually work on multiple illustrations at the same time. This way, I can revise images as they are done, and also know from the onset what will work stylistically and what will not.
I work well with your art direction as you digest the material and point out what you thinks will stand out, or will work as an illustration, and I would like us to continue working this way. If you still need the cover illustration before Monday, please let me know and I will start emailing you the roughs as soon as I have something concrete on paper. Also to confirm, the final fee at the end of the project will be £xxx
I apologise for any inconvenience caused on my behalf, and if I have delayed the publication of THE article. I will endeavour to make sure this does not happen again. I am more than happy to continue working with you and your team. The few benefits of working freelance is being able to choose who you want to work with and on what projects. Last few lesson's I was taught at University was to have integrity in one's work, to choose who to work with and work for, and to choose the reasons that will make me be satisfied with the outcomes of the project and work, irrespective of the monetary rewards. I believe your company is one such experience. You aim to improve the state of others, and I am to use my work to aid in that vision.
KMY RETURN EMAILThank you for your understanding. I am very impressed with the professional way you raised the issue and how you have dealt with it. It speaks volumes for your integrity and like you I only want to work with people who act in this way. Yes we will start a fresh from Monday. I had hoped to get the guide out sooner so we will, in the first instance publish, it without illustrations.
Today my learning has been overwhelmingly intentional. The context was learning for work - my book project. My intention was to add to my knowledge about the strategic development project by interviewing five more people. My personal learning strategy involved. Preparation - 2h reading background material and formulating questions. Interviewing - I spent about 4.4h talking to people in a structured way. The interviews also provided me with an opportunity to try and build a relationship that would lead to more exchanges of information and personal knowledge ie a personalised working relationship which I followed up with a an email thank you and a request to complete a short questionnaire the next day. Reflection - about 2 h during the day and on the journey home thinking about what was said and identifying important learning points.Overall I think my personal learning strategy lasted about 9h and an additional 30mins to reflect on what and how I had learnt.
So what did I learn? At the obvious level it was
1) Relational knowledge - personal relationships with five new people
2) Their personal knowledge of the work they had undertaken and the ways in which they had brought about change in the organisation
3) Conceptual - their understandings about the way innovation/change had been accomplished
4) Awareness of my own learning strategy.
At a deeper and more sustained level I will do something with this new knowledge. Once I have the transcripts this knowledge will be organised and connected to my existing knowledge to help tell the story of change.
As a committed lifewider I'm a firm believer in the principle that what you gain from an experience is proportional to what you put into it. One of my failings perhaps is, if I'm busy, I don't try things for long enough or put enough effort in to appreciate the value in something. I had made my mind up to put effort into our twitter week long conversation even though I was quite busy. And looking back over the week I can see that I did learn lots of new things. I knew next to nothing about how to use twitter before I started and the practice I had had only confirmed my prejudices so I suppose I was quite sceptical about its value to me. But I can now appreciate some of the value in twitter (thanks to the people who helped me - Nick, David and Jane in particular) and how I can incorporate twitter into my personal learning strategies
1) Knowing next to nothing at the start it is easy to see that I now know something.I am now confident in composing and posting messages and being able to search for people and topics.
2) I gained some new experience in trying to engage people in the twitter conversation and in setting up the invitations on the website.
3) I have to say that I found the form of conversation frustrating and I didn't think I progressed my understanding of LWL beyond what I already knew. In fact I found some of the ideas confusing I think because I was not appreciating the contexts in the minds of those offering the ideas. But I acknowledge that others did seem to get excited by things that I wasn't able to appreciate so there is value in witnessing how others are inspired.
4) Which takes us into the affective domain. We all look for inspiration and I posted a question on a Linked in forum this week relating to what inspires us. I could clearly see that some of the posts that were made on twitter seemed to inspire people and I did towards the end of the week (see below) experience some inspiring moments. So I can now appreciate that posts made in twitter can be a source of inspiration. * I'm also trying to engage with linked-in so I have been able to make comparisons between twitter and linked in and see how twitter posts are used in linked in.
5) The event introduced me to new people and their work which was important new relational knowledge and off-line I approached one person with a view to trying to engage them as a supporter of and contributor to our work.
6) I took the trouble to search out blogs that provided concise and useful knowledge about twitter so began to use codified knowledge and personal wisdom gained from experienced users. Twitter now began to make more sense to me because I have had the practical experience of trying to use it (see attachment)
7) By Day 5 (thursday) I was beginning to adopt an exploratory approach - forcing myself to go beyond the conversation. I was not so interested in what people were saying in the conversation as the links to video's and blogs that people provided. I started to follow up links e.g #learning that one of the participants was providing. And then did my own searching for messages that looked interesting following up the links in them. I came across David Gerteen who I was aware was a well known thought leader. L clicked on one of his links and it took me to a great website with some excellent video speaker content - now I realised that by following links that looked meaningful I could find resources that were useful to me - my work and expanded my understanding. I began to see for the first time the value of twitter from the perspective of incorporating it into a personal learning strategy. But I had to invest quite a lot of time to get to this stage of enlightenment.
8) Then moving from links to people I identified one or two people who seem to be productive thought leaders in fields that I am interested in and began to follow them so on Friday morning I spent 20mins checking up on links provided and found some interesting resources. So I can see the value of following and hopefully if you post things of interest to others - of being followed.
So all in all I have developed through this experience some useful experience-based insights (some knowing how to), acquired and made use of existing codified knowledge, gained some very valuable relational knowledge, identified and connected to some thought leaders that I'm sure will inspire me, improved my media literacy ( a little), and I can now see how I can incorporate twitter into a personal learning strategy. In other words, through taking the time to engage in activity through which I might learn something new, I have shifted from being ignorant, sceptical and having no competency in using this technology to a position of relative enlightenment and having some new capability, confidence, interest and belief. And I have overcome my prejudice and scepticism.
Not bad in 5 days!!
APPLYING MY LEARNING 19/05/12
Learning about something and then enacting what you have learnt are two different things. On Saturday morning I added a twitter button to my blog and made myself spend 20mins checking out #Learning and found a really interesting link to Charles Jennings blogs. Its an area of learning and development I was not aware of and I have read his articles and re-posted one of them on the Lifewide Education website. The proof of the pudding is in the eating then I have eaten twitter and it tastes good. I was also pleased to see this post by David Roberts which showed that someone had taken an interest in my learning.
David C Roberts @DavidCRobertsVery telling blog post by @lifewider1 about a learning exploration on#Twitter http://www.normanjackson.co.uk/scraps-of-life-blog.html#learning #heutagogy #LW1 #PhDchat
I travelled to Southampton to do two more interviews. Both were very informative and individuals passed on to me stories about their innovation work and how they accomplished change. I recorded the conversations for later transcription and analysis, with lots of other transcripts, to identify common themes. I also chatted to PB and we had a conversation about the ownership of new processes/activity which cross cut functional areas of the university. I hadn't thoughts about this but she had given it a lot of thought.
I also tried to maintain a presence in twitter. Pulling my thoughts together I found it an interesting experience and I feel I now have some understanding about how it works - so that is my most important learning to date. I'm still not sure whether I'm learning very much through this form of communication (although I am glad I'm trying). I find the brevity frustrating and sometimes its hard to decipher other people's contributions and if no one responds to your question you are left feeling unfulfilled. I have also found it distracting to keep monitoring and contributing to discussion and frustrating that - people are good at avoiding the focusing question.
I want to know how the new people who have joined us have found us. I have posted invites in the RSA social network, linked in future of learning and PDP & Imaginative
Curriculum networks... and Jenny posted to the community (Thats a lot of invites).... Two people I invited personally and both have made contributions.. I know these things depend on building a following but I am left thinking that there are very few people who want to engage in twitter conversations.....compared to example some of the email mail list discussions I have facilitated or witnessed. So I guess this is new knowledge gained through experience.
Its 10.30 I've watched 15 mins of news, switching to Jools Holland - to be exposed to new musical talent and then newsnight for my daily fix of political analysis.
We launched our first twitter exchange - a totally new experience for me and for most of the others in the lifewide education team so I guess I might predict that by the end of the day I will have some experience-based knowledge of how this works.I've already been involved in a twitter practice which was more frustrating than enlightening so some might say we are taking a risk in trying to do something that we have not already made to work. But in the scheme of things its only a small risk and nothing ventured nothing gained. In responding to N's opening question I decided I was going to create a learning experience out of today by thinking about what I was learning through the day. My tool for thinking about learning was a simple word document which I would try to update every hour.
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.
Technology is responsible for more than its fair share of giving me new experiences - often not particularly nice experiences. Last night we (the lifewide team) tried, with the help of NB, to run an introductory twitter seminar. I have to say it wasn't a very good experience but I think we learnt quite a lot from it and it cedrtainly made us shift into problem solving mode.
NB provided a useful background paper with lots of prompts and I along with 4 others tried to log on to the twitter page and have a conversation - albeit limited to 140 characters. Most of us managed to get onto the page but one of us was not aboe to see everyone else and we couldn't help him with the problem.
I think we all fumbled beyond the basics of posting a message and we never had a structured discussion. I didn't find the hosting page at all helpful. There should be a way of putting up some basic instructions about the timing and format. I came away with the impression that it has to be essentially for people who are already familiar with twitter rather than for complete novices.
Neverthless we are committed to trying to run a series of events from next week so we have a real need to learn how to do it quickly.
Postscript - not surprisingly there were lots of email exchanges afterwards and JC did a splendid job of highlighting the potential benefits of twitter for 'students'.. the upshot of the discussion was that we agreed that it would be more sensible to host a week long event..
I often say that we are who we are because of all the experiences we have had and the meanings we have chosen to create for ourselves through those experiences. Today is a special day for me and my children. Its thirteen years since my wife Jill died of cancer at the age of 48. It's also true that you never stop grieving for and missing the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with. They remain an integral part of who you are for the rest of your life. Indeed, one of the reasons I have tried to live a positive and fulfilled life since she died was to try to honour her. Had she lived she would have seen our three children grow up to become fine young people, she would have enjoyed two of them getting married and the third talking of marriage and enjoyed our grandson and the thought of twins on the way. She had that rare gift of being able to get so much enjoyment from the smallest incidents of life - like a cup of coffee and a chocolate biscuit. She taught me to see the joy in the simplest of moments. Whereas I complicate life she simplified it to the essentials and enjoyed it for the sensual experience it is. She helped me see that it is the simplest of things in life that are worth living for.Generally I am able to be positive abouit most things and people often comment on my enthusiasm, energy and positivity but there is nothing positive about losing the one you loved. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself and my loss, at other times I experience intense feelings of guilt that I am alive and she is not. I tell myself that she would have wanted me to try to live my life to the full and I know she would think I had done the right thing to marry again and try to be a good step father to my three children. But I am not religious so I have no concept of her awareness being in another place and that makes me very sad sometimes. I have to comfort myself with the thought that her spirit lives on in mine and of our children. Perhaps all I am doing is really a tribute to her.
My wife knows how I feel because she feels the same about her husband who she lost when he was only 35. We are united by a shared experience that has profoundly shaped us both.
These two pieces of music to express how I am feeling - when I am feeling melancholy I love to listen to the Chinese erhu. Jill never saw the film crounching tiger but here is some of the music from the film that really touches me. The second is Jill's favourite ever song - fields of gold by sting. The first makes me feel unbelievably sad the second reminds me of our happiness.
To develop my understandings of how I learn and develop through all parts of my life by recording and reflecting on my own life as it happens.
I have a rough plan but most of what I do emerges from the circumstances of my life