Saturday, May 9, 2015


I suppose this post is what I care about most just now.

I couldn't sleep, it has to come out.

The drawing presently above captures a moment of love.

My daughter was sitting opposite me on the other side of the table and she was busy drawing.

I picked up a piece of paper and took the first drawing insrument I could find.

As often it is,  it was a biro.

After a while, I stretched over to pick up a felt tip colour pen to highlight my scribbling.

My daughter said: "They are my pens." 

I said, "Could I use your pens?" 

She replied, "Yes." 

Before she went to bed, she hugged me.


I had been trying to order my thoughts about what it is to be a "rhizomatic teacher".

I had already written much about different aspects of this in this blog, I decided.

I wanted to draw these aspects together to illustrate my thoughts more concisely for other learners.

I didn't want them ot have to wade through this bloody messy blog map!

I started off by looking for key terms.

I noted them down in a Popplet.

When I am thinking over complex questions, I often use a tool like Popplet.

It acts like bits of paper, post it notes, that I can manipulate on the floor.

I can make connections, I can insert images or videos, I can insert links.

I need to turn objects and concepts and people around in space to grasp stuff better.

At the centre of the web, I had noted: "Teacher as naturalist". 

There are two images I associate with this:

  • a naturalist in a hide to be able to observe and so as not to disturb the wild-life 
  • a naturalist taking a proactive role to release wild-life back into the nature.
To be a "naturalist" also implies felt presence. 

Such a 'felt presence' may be performed in a theatrical performance, I would reference Stanislawski and Chekov here or Jouvet.

I am not suggesting play acting, I am suggesting the actual and authentic embodiment of a role at an instant.

To act is also to be aware of those and that around - to be a listener.

I noted in the circles around 'Teacher as naturalist"

Icon or beacon. The teacher must be identifiable as an actor, as a reference even when back stage in the play.

I noted down blog posts which seemed to connect to this.

What sort of beacon or icon? I ask myself. 

Well I think the answer is that of the co-learner  , a role so dear to Howard Rheingold.

We are always both learner and teacher and researcher and...(well just add the role you want at the moment)

Howard or Alan Levine, or Jim Groom or Dave Cormier are not just brands they are caring humans.

They are actively going about their learning lives.

I noted down blog posts which seemed to connect to this.
I made a note of the moments when a learner feels out of his depth.

I think that the role of the 'rhizomatic teacher' is to enable the learner not to drown, if at all possible!

His or her, or the community's role is to be one of  a life-saver. 

I am reminded of Deleuze's comments in his ABCédaire about the loss of young people to drugs and his sadness at their misunderstanding of his work, and his concern that he could be held responsible.

At times, my learning life and my self-esteem has been saved by the kind, caring, attention of others.

I noted down a couple of posts to illustrate this:
One could add the roles of coach,  of sounding board to the one of life-saver.

I still believe that the teacher has a triggering role for learners.

He/she has a role of a conductor at times when it is possible to introduce support acts. 

He/she maybe an MC or a master of ceremonies.

I made a note of this in one of my last posts.
MC doesn't mean that the teacher has the star billing. 

He/she may act as useful connecting punctuation but his/hers is not the main role. 

Changing realities...

In the theatre of learning, today, teachers must understand that their classrooms must be open to the world.

The walls were always only virtual even if they were made of, and were considered, concrete.

My school doodling was proof to me that the classroom was a virtual reality, even if the school-master thought otherwise.

We are free, if we choose to be.

I noted down a post which illustrates this transition of teacher roles:
This instance that All the world is a stage is a consistent theme to me...

I admit that Shakespeare has an iconic status for me.

I have, I have always had an obsession with space.

Making space is the most important role for the teacher, for the 'rhizomatic teacher'.

Making space also means enabling the learners to connect to other personal 'informal', learning spaces to which we as teachers are and must be excluded.

That implies enabling the learner to connect their spaces, their nodes, to choose their landmarks on their maps.

That implies using technology to connect diverse spaces.

Technology includes language.

I noted down three posts which illustrated this.
Ultimately, the role of the teacher, of the "rhizomatic teacher' is about: 
enabling connections.

The teacher may be a hub, an interface, a model, of connecting to learn, of making connections learning.

I noted down a number of posts which demonstrate this. 

Frankly, I might as well list all the posts in this blog - but that would not be terribly legible! 

So here is a selection...
In order to model connections for others, I think that I have a responsibility to tell stories.

Here is a post where I tell such a story.
I seek to make connections to other people's stories.

I am, if you will, a story collector.

Here is an example of collected stories.

I do believe that Content is People...

The subjective of this blog is to share 'felt presence'.

I suppose this is what one might describe as my 'learning and as my teaching subjectives.'

Frustration with the tool...
Frustration with the frames...

I was getting frustrated with Popplet.

I wasn't sure how to embody rhizomatic learning or teaching adequately.

When I get to this point, I stop.

I do something else.

I might have scrapped the Popplet out of disgust.

I often do...


A few minutes later, I picked up a piece of paper and sat next to my daughter.

My first love is and remains drawing...

When  I was my daughter's age, my father, a clergyman would ask me to illustrate his sermons.

"I am useless at drawing." he would say.

"You are very good at drawing."

I felt empowered.
I loved drawing.
I loved playing a part in his work.

As I tried to sleep and not write this post, I understood what all of this is about.

It is about love.

It is about the meaning of education.

It is an act of EDUCERE.

I couldn't illustrate rhizomatic learning any better than drawing it out for you.

You can read what you like into my drawing.

It is my map.

Please take care of it.

It is, of course, and fortunately incomplete...

I believe my teaching subjective is to draw out learning...

I shall finish with a thank you note, which I tweeted to Dave Cormier.

Thank you too.


  1. A few notes:

    1. Thank you Terry. The Rogers annotation to felt presence is a great avenue.

      I don't see embodying a role as necessarily improvisation. Perhaps rather the contrary most often.

      I am intrigued by your notes about walls.

      I think your reflection to being a naturalist particularly apt.

      We are finally no more or no less than caretakers.

  2. As usual, thank you for sharing your thinking. It seems that a Popplet is a form of concept map. I encourage you to embed a link to it in your article. I'd not heard of it before. But then, 99% of what's going on in the world I've probably never heard of.

    That's what learning is all about. Exploring the unknown.