Monday, January 20, 2014

They get it eventually.

Working with young undergraduate students who have been institutionalised over years, the first battle is to convince them that they stand to gain something from not being force-fed. 

As photos of student strikes in our 'open-classroom'  remind us, independence is not at all necessarily part of their agenda when it comes to their education. 

Their independence they seek elsewhere, and they joyfully consume themselves without a care. 

Stand firm
If we are serious about enabling critical thinking, autonomous, creative learners, we are in for a rough ride. 

Stand firm
If we ourselves are not convinced of our own possibility to act independently as learners, then our plans go pshchhit. 

Stand firm. 
when they are scared, when they start to panic, when they demand content... their dummies. But, be prepared for compromise, careful planning, to provide clearly defined signalling: 'One way' (yours). This is a long campaign.

Patience, patience
years of conditioning don't come out in a wash. It takes years of insistence. 
With Youtube, blogs, gdocs, anything publically shared it is beginning to be apparent that independence is a question of culture, generation after generation we are working with more assurance, connecting ourselves more widely for stability.  The students have stories which they tell which help us help future generations. When they cease to be students they continue to help us, help the others. If we are serious about enabling independent communities of learners, learning webs, then it ain't going to happen of its own accord. 

Concentrating on process rather than product, looking at long rather than short term outcomes, (Yes Simon, I am using the term outcomes. Crikey!) being open to the idea that alone we can doing nothing, is a start. Yes independence depends on recognising our limits, our incompetence and the human reality of emotional and material interdependence. 

We can not force others to be independent. We can strive to be independent forcefully.

We are not alone, alone. They get it eventually, if we care.

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