Adventures in Learning : Transforming Learning Moment?

This week’s class focused on transformational learning and how that can instructors can facilitate that experience in learners in a loosely structured manner.  The group presenting led us down an activity where we broke into pairs and worked through the first three stages of the process:  Experience, Critical Reflection, and Reflective Discourse.  The final stage was Action to which we were directed to take up the conversation by writing about it.  With that in mind, what follows are my reflections on the questions posed.  I did like this activity as it made me pause and think about something I’ve been wanting to tackle for a while and better understand what stands in the way of that (and how to address it).

Experience

  • What positive change would you like to make that would impact your life? This may include work, home, community, relationships with others. Anything.
For a while now, I’ve wanted to write a book (and by now, have probably written the equivalent therein with over 150 posts on this blog).  I know there’s numerous books in me to write and many know that writing has been a passion of mine for decades, ever since I took up writing on a computer in eighth grade.
  • Based on the situation you are in right now, what prevents you from making that change?  
Focus is the primary challenge.  There are many projects that I am involved in right now that distract me from focusing on the book.  From working on Masters #3, to the miscellaneous writing I do here, to running, to the extra teaching gigs I enjoy, to developing other skills (cooking, gardening, etc).  There’s also been a lack of focus on topic.  Do I write fiction or nonfiction?  Do I go for a collection of short stories or a collection of essays?  However of late, I’m honing in on a memoir that as I said to my group talks about health, weight, identity, and all that cultural shit that comes with it (they thought that would make a great title; I’m leaning towards Fatboy Shuffle for various reasons connected to the content).

Critical Reflection:

  • What has led you to this desire to change?  This may include historical or biographical, cultural and familial, political, geographical, financial, spiritual reasons. 
I feel like I have something to say, a good grasp of how to say it, and the skills to say it in a book form.  Ultimately, there’s a cross-section of things that have come into place to make me feel that I could offer, through reflection about how I have made sense of and move through the world, some useful things for others to think about.

Reflective Discourse:

  • Is there someone or something in your life that would provide a model for you so you can ‘see’ what this change would look like? Explain.
The most relevant models I would have to look to are friends who have completed a dissertation.  After all, it’s a yeoman’s task.  Pouring years of one’s work into an effort that in the end may result in very little (may not even result in a doctorate or an improved chance in employment or other “returns on investment).
  • What are they doing that you admire? 
Mostly, I admire the large amount of energy they have put into a wholly intellectual task of capture the knowledge within their realm of their study and pushing it forward in some new, interesting, different way than previously put forth.  I don’t know that I would claim the book I want to write has that same merit, but it’s still a serious act of intellectual rigor (insomuch as I conceive of the ways I want to talk about the ways I understand my life and world around me).
  • What are your perceived limitations to this change? Is there a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) for how you’d like to change?
The limitations are largely ones I’ve put upon myself.  There are other projects that I’ve prioritized (training, gardening, degrees, teaching opportunities, writing opportunities that pay directly, etc).  I know the ability is within me; after all, as I already said, I’ve written probably a (disorganized and crazy-range) book’s worth of entries on this blog.  I also wrote a (poorly written) book in high school… 2.5 times.  So I’m not sure I need external help; though I would imagine external nudging would certainly be encouraging (as I learned from my running experience).
  • Are there any resources available to you to help make this change? 
I have all the tools and resources I need; the only others that I can think of are some additional connections in the publishing industry; but I think I may have a few out there, willing to help.
  • What level of self-effort or resources do you envision necessary to make this change? Explain.
It’s mostly about making a conscious effort to dedicate time and energy to this project and put it on the priority list.  I think there are ways of doing that and I need to sit down and map out the project
  • What motivates you to make this change?
It’s time.  I also want to see what actually putting thoughts to paper will lead me in understanding myself and the world around me more.
  • Do you think the people around you think you need to make this change?
No.  Or if they do, they know that like many things in my life, when I’m ready to make the change, I will.
  • Are there any reasons why anyone around you would not want you to make this change? 
No.  Those around me tend to be supportive.
  • If you don’t make this change will there be any consequences?

Nothing, beyond self-disappointment.
  • How will making this change improve or enrich your life?
I will feel that I’ve been able to contribute something meaningful to the discussion of health, identity, and culture that I would hope be helpful to many others grappling with the same issues and challenges.
  • What impact will this change have on your daily life? 1 month from now? 6 months from now? A year from now?
It would be one more parcel of time I need to plan and account for over the next year or longer.  Beyond that, I think it would further enrich my own daily experiences in how I make sense of what I experience and what I do.
  • If you had to guess the likelihood of successfully making this change; are the chances high, medium or low? Please explain.
High.  That I’ve made it this far in the self-examination has certainly triggered a mixture of ways of approaching it and conceptualizing it.  That I am posting it on the blog is another means of making it more likely to happen since it creates a public account; something no longer within me solely but made available to anyone (yea, all 3 of you) that read this.  It’s something I’ve learned to be very powerful in pushing me (and people in general) to commit to certain things.

So there are the questions.  Honestly answered.  Now I have to go…and start thinking about that book.



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