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Posts tagged ‘awareness’

Cathedral Sunrise

Got it!

Today was the day the sun rose directly behind the Cathedral. This happens twice a year and I do like being here for these moments. Two days ago I took a picture as it was nearly there.

I went outside, stood barefoot (bit cold, but nice to feel the ground beneath my feet) and watched with reverence as the sun rose. You can see the Cathedral, and yes, it is a picture of the sunrise.

you need to look beyond the horizon to see it



It was there, waiting

I find stories in my life, and they teach me. This is one of those.

Every morning I prepare the lunches, not because of any female stereotype but simply because I have more time because of a shorter commute than others, it saves us money, and it means we eat good food. Lately I’ve been buying apples on offer – £.79 for 6 British apples. That’s ok?

Today I stopped in my tracks and thought – why? Why am I buying apples when I have more than a shelf in the fridge FULL of apples that I picked? (some of them are for cooking, but there is a shelf full of eating apples)

I went to the fridge, opened the heavy burlap-esque carrier bag and looked in. Sure enough the apples were there, waiting. The one in the photo that is cut is one of them. I picked it in October. I chose that apple, went to the tree and through effort, reached, climbed, shook the tree to get that apple. I only chose the good ones and I took the care to store them well so they would last and could feed us for a long time.

-and then it lay forgotten. under cover. on the shelf. (literally)

So here I am, looking at something that has waited to be noticed, and it was right in front of me. 

Today when I eat that apple I will enjoy it. I’d say that I will think and dream – but dreams are things in the distance that sometimes we wait for. No more waiting, sometimes things sit on the shelf for far too long – rather like… (cue the crunching sound of biting into an apple) 🙂

Hope your Monday is filled with moments of noticing what’s right in front of you.

Yes I can? YES YOU CAN!

Yesterday something extraordinary happened.

I was asked to run a session for colleagues at my university on learning and teaching as their first session of a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching. Planning for this was like swimming in alphabet soup in my mind and gathering words – I knew what I did not want the session to be, but I wasn’t sure how I would or should tailor the session. I knew nothing about the group – who they were, why they were there, what their responsibilities or roles in their jobs were, or what their experience or conception of learning entailed – and all this matters.

In the past I have run sessions where the room is set out as an orchestra and everyone comes in to find that they will be not observing, but playing in that orchestra. Magic. This year though, that felt like hard work. (After yesterday though, I would like the opportunity to do that with this group) What I did instead was to divide them into groups of four and give each group an instrument. Each group had a different remit: one group was explicitly ‘taught’ by me, one group was told to just figure it out however they liked, one group was given roles for everyone – a facilitator, a scribe, someone to make an abstract map (mind map or the like) of the learning and happenings, and one person to be a designated researcher to find resources. Then after an exploratory 15 mins we came back to discuss what happened, and compare the perceptions of the learners and the others in the groups. -and to perform whatever they ‘figured out’. We heard twinkle twinkle from one group, Clair de lune from another (on viola! yes, I gave them a viola!!), and an improvised jazz/percussion piece from another group.

It was impossible in a short 90 min session to convey what they were actually experiencing from a theoretical standpoint.

Experience is a marvellous teacher, but when you are swimming in the water, you cannot also drink it or wash with it. One thing and ‘one think’ (as one of my children used to say) at a time. Read more

In the alphabet soup of life

Photo CC licensed:

This morning I was inspired by Gardner Campbell’s Downstream Deliverables, where he reflected on two things: the impact of what we say, and the convergence of people who impact or have impacted him. When I read his post I had so much to say I decided it was too much for a comment and that I would write about it –

Firstly words. Words are so, so important – especially when they come from teachers. We have all heard about the pink elephant, or the white bear. No? Well, you probably just imagined one. Wegner, Schneider, Carter & White (1987) first presented the effects of asking people NOT to think of something. I love that. Teachers (and everyday people) do this all the time.

#3366ff;">Don’t colour outside of the lines. Don’t be late. Don’t forget to do your homework.

For all of these, we must first think of doing it wrong before we can imagine doing it right.

Another one that gets me- and is possibly my favourite ‘faux-pas’ of all time is the word TRY.

How the heck can you try to do something? Seriously, have you ever tried to make your lunch or tried to teach a class? No. No, you have not. You have either done it or not done it. The magic here is that we do. We choose to do, and sometimes the things we do are partly completed – because we hit a roadblock and need help, or need to learn more before we can complete that task – and other times we do things and fail. That said, it is no bad thing to do and fail – as long as you (like my teacher used to say) get back on that horse. Trying was perhaps the first generation of the very nasty phrase that unfortunately gets used in real school settings nowadays ‘deferred success’. ouch. Personally, I would rather fail and get back on that horse.

I know it is a bit cliché, but no less potent because it came from a film. (Did ‘there is no try’ actually come from this film??? I would love to know because I have quoted it in the draft typescript of my book Fostering Self-efficacy in Higher Education Students and if there is another source, I would love to get that right!)  

The other point that Gardner made was about the impact of people, their words, and actions –  and really completing the circle, the cycle, that what flows from one may come back one day. That touched me and I thought YES! I know !!! You are so right!

I had a teacher who touched lives and taught his students to think for themselves and to believe in themselves, and he gave more than he had to give, and in turn the students gave back more than they knew they had. A year ago, 60 of this teacher’s students (past and present) came together as a giant cello family to make music together. We recorded the Adagietto of Mahler’s 5th Symphony – and it is being prepared for release on cd. That event was a meeting of people who have had positive marks left by this one teacher – and we came from across the globe and had many different professional destinations. Each person had grown into their own musician, but we all had that ‘familial’ influence of the same teacher. I cannot really describe how powerful that was in the space of a paragraph.

When in that moment – when downstream and the gathering and culmination of various experiences and paths is delivered to you, – for me that gave me a certain clarity, to perceive the convergence and soak it in. I took from it a perspective on the impact of my teacher, but also of myself- where I had been and where I had come. …and that river is still flowing. That is amazing. Hope to meet you down stream.

That is not really finished, but I hope you’ll agree that was too long to put as a comment.

It is Saturday morning and time for breakfast. I’m off to make waffles.


“JUST DO IT. (NIKE)” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –