Friday, January 23, 2015


The morning after, kilometres further on, alone, she stopped to reflect.

Walking could never be enough, in the desert she had lost her bearings.

How many hours had it been?

She had lost all notion of time.

She closed her eyes to see better.

She felt the breeze, the sun beating down, she was elsewhere, far away.

She knew herself to be intensely alive.

In an instant his words made more sense. 

He had opened her eyes.

She was thankful.


Yesterday, I was walking around Freire, trying to breathe some life into a relationship with a distant voice captured in the lines of a paperback.

I had to blow the dust off it.

Today, after reading Keith Hamon's post, Connections, Flows, and Freire in #moocmooc  and returning to Freire, he (Freire that is),  appears to be more alive.

Keith underlines for me the connections of radical pedagogy with Dave Cormier's ideas around Rhizomatic Learning.

Keith emphasies the constant, dynamic, chaotic act of learning, of becoming.

He connects the distributed rhizomatic network with learning, with active community formation.

I quote Keith here talking of Freire,

"His words imply movement: knowledge emerges … restless, impatient continuing … human beings pursue. Inquiry is not passive, cannot be passive, but is active, moving, flowing. It reminds me of Deleuze and Guattari's flows of desire that drive all human activity—and I would say desire drives all natural activity."

Yes, our learning requires movement.

Freire needs no resurrection, but careful reading, walking, reflection, acting...

"Education is constantly remade in the praxis. In order to be it must become."

In dialogue with Pedagogy of the Oppressed through this act of writing, I am becoming aware of the friction, of the texture embedded in its language.

I make a mental note of the importance of this reflective writing for the students that I work with.

"The teacher-student and the student-teachers reflect simultaneously on themselves and the world without dichotomizing this reflection from action, and thus establish an authentic form of thought and action."

We must take our time, our time together; no deadlines for this post...

I am conscious of my breathing which is slowing, as I fashion this.

I am beginning to appreciate more and more the militant act of what Terry Elliott calls 'slow reading.'

How unlike traditional timetabled, unit managed, 'education'!

How ironic that they talk of linear on-line courses as 'learning paths'!

Not much scope for wandering off the one true path...



I am beginning to better appreciate how difficult it is for students who are constantly stuffed, who are constantly occupied.

Occupied seems to be the appropriate term.

'Education', if that is what we may call it, occupies as it colonises their time.

They show me their 'busy' time tables.

"I need to get a Master's degree. You need a Master's degree now..."


"The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom."

How alive is that quote??

I hate how they speak about their 'post-education' - 'when I am in 'active life' they say.

How much time must they kill to be able to live actively?

How long will it be before they choose their 'professional occupation'?

I am convinced that we must strive to change that framing of education.

Who says it better than Dewey?

"Education is not a preparation for life, education is life itself."

Who emphasises our task as radical educators better than Freire?

"If the structure does not permit dialogue the structure must be changed."

  • I am beginning to list fellow teachers/fellow learners, with whom I can again engage in dialogue, locally...

I am reminded of a comment of Michael Lewis about English language teaching.

Teachers often conduct 'needs analyses' at the beginning of a course, 'the course', he said 'IS the needs analysis.' I like that formula, I heard so many years ago. I stick it here for future reference....


In my last post was asking myself about Critical Pedagogy in an era of online learning, of distributed networks..

I remember the work of Shyam Sharma, in particular his comments on the absurdity of MOOCx's which are conceived to educate the 'world'.

I make a note to reread, to spend more time with Maha's latest post on Hybrid Pedagogy entitled 'Embodying Openness as Digital Inclusive Praxis'.

"One cannot expect positive results from an educational or political action program which fails to respect the particular view of the world held by the people. Such a program constitutes cultural invasion, good intentions notwithstanding."

Yes, I think to myself, we cannot simply read and then talk Freire.

He leaves us, all of us, each one of us to do our walk/work.


There is no route, there is no Sat Nav, this is our walkabout.

It is our task to accompany and encourage students to embark on their own.

"The teacher is of course an artist, but being an artist does not mean that he or she can make the profiile, can shape the students. What the educator does in teaching is to make it possible for the students to become themselves."

Yes, I say to myself, blogging is, or at least has the potential to be more than careless talk...

I am reminded of Dave Cormier's post, 'Learning's first principle' in which he talks of the importance of caring.

Yes, that has resonance for me, I shall remix it: 'Teaching's first principle' is about caring.

I have decided that I am rather enjoying Hybrid Pedagogy's  #moocmooc.

These people care about learning.

refers to a rite of passage during which male Australian Aborigines would undergo a journey during adolescence and live in the wilderness for a period as long as six months.[1][not in citation given]
In this practice they would trace the paths, or "songlines", that their ancestors took, and imitate, in a fashion, their heroic deeds. Merriam-Webster, however, identifies the noun as a 1908 coinage referring to "a short period of wandering bush life engaged in by an Australian Aborigine as an occasional interruption of regular work", with the only mention of "spiritual journey" coming in a usage example from a latter-day travel writer.[2]
To white employers, this urge to depart without notice (and reappear just as suddenly) was seen as something inherent in the Aboriginal nature, but the reasons may be more mundane: workers who wanted or needed to attend a ceremony or visit relatives did not accept employers' control over such matters (especially since permission was generally hard to get).[3]

Image credits

Walkabout image.

Careless talk costs lives.


  1. Thanks, Simon. I really like the concept of walkabout, in all the meanings listed here. It captures, I think, what Freire and Deleuze were trying to say about engagement with the real being the heart of authentic learning and inquiry. For me, the second hardest part is how to honor the walkabout within the structures of institutions in which "permission [is] usually hard to get". The first hardest part, of course, is giving myself permission. I learned my lessons well.

    1. Thanks Keith. Yes nobody else can walk for us.

    2. On the question of permission it reminds me of Steve Wheeler's maxim : rather ask for forgiveness than permission and positive deviance