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Posts tagged ‘laughter’

Applied Imagination: I think, therefore I can

Yes you can. That’s a powerful refrain in my life, and it underpins so very very much. I had the privilege of teaching on the ‘Applied Imagination’ module at the University of Warwick yesterday. To contextualise, this class sits within Warwick’s Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning (IATL) and the students come from all different departments and schools across the university- trans, inter, cross disciplinary are all big themes of the class, as well as thought, imagination, belief, and accomplishment.

It was such a special morning. I set off pre-dawn with my little care packed full of instruments, as my session would use music, but music as a metaphor. I know that people are not going to learn to be ‘musicians’ in a couple of hours, but music is so wonderful – it moves, it grooves, it makes you feel, and for so many of us it remains untouchable. I love to bring people to something that is perceived as being outside their reach. <— Hold that thought; I’ll return to it in a minute. Read more

I, myself, as a tree

(3 min read) My son used to go for long walks with us and his grandparents and as we followed the footpaths through the woods he would look up, stretching through his open fingertips and say, ‘tall like a tree!’ It is an enduring and lovely memory of mine. Today I asked my class to do a related activity, having to do with the concept of self, and we nearly had enough time to discuss the takeaways. My university music students paired up and set about drawing their partner as a tree, or some form of vegetation of their choosing. The instructions were to NOT tell or show the other person your drawing.

This caused much hilarity with my room full of music students. It began with a few people saying, but I don’t know how to draw?!? but despite the lack of formal training, everyone got on with it and there were smiles and giggles and there were a few questions – what about? How do I? I assured them that there were no wrong approaches or wrong drawings. It was fine.

After a few minutes, when they had finished, I asked them to use another piece of paper and this time to draw themselves as a tree or plant. Oooh, this was more challenging. I had in mind a couple of iterations – but we only had time for a first drawing. If we had longer we could have drawn ourselves as our ideal tree, or as the tree we think others perceive us to be. As it was, just the act of drawing a tree-self-portrait was perfect for today.

Lastly we went around the room and showed, first the self-image and then the other person’s portrait. They were always different, and some were heartwarmingly thought through.

…She is an iris, because it is beautiful, complex, and a lot stronger than it looks…

and that self portrait was of a cactus in a pot.

How often do we tell people the good we see in them?

Without communication, there is only guesswork, assumption, and potential for misunderstanding. So much of teaching is about communication.

I didn’t have a partner as there were an even number of students, but I did draw a tree and also asked the internet what sort of tree I would be, and I got two replies, one in words and one in ink. My tree was mainly lines, and it went off the page. (I think of myself as a big tree, with old roots, and outstretched branches.)

“A fairly tall tree with many different sized branches growing in different directions with a sturdy trunk that holds the branches together and also moves gently in the breeze.” – Blinkey

by Ronald_2008

Zesty botanicals and children’s laughter

(30 sec read) This is one of those stories that is lovely just because it is, and with so many stories that involve children, it has direct relevance to adult life. Zesty botanicals have less to do with it – but the freshness that they conjure is relevant to the residue left on me by this story.

A good friend of mine came to visit (over a decade ago) and my children were very small, 2 and nearly 4 at the time. This friend was magic – he had no children of his own, but mine adored him and he had a simple, but amazing game he played with them.

They would do what little children did and stretch their arms upwards and ask, ‘Can you pick me up? Pleeeeeease?’ (or in the case of the 2 year old ‘pick up peez!’) Read more