FLIP: my role as an adult educator

COURSE: Fostering Learning in Practice

FORUM: Koala

TOPICS: Fenwick, reflections, adult learning, experiential learning, constructivism,

WEEK 10 – Task 1: my role as an adult educator

Link to forum    Link to blog

Task 1

1) Select a quote from this reading that is your favourite or that you find significant for whatever reason

The co-emergence of an entwined understanding:

“The enactivist perspective insists that learning cannot be understood except in terms of co-emergence: each participant’s understandings are entwined with those of other participants, and individual knowledge co-emerges with collective knowledge.” (p. 49)
“The educator’s role might be first, a communicator: assisting participants in naming what is unfolding around them and inside them, continually renaming these changing nuances, and unlocking the tenacious grasp of old categories, restrictive or destructive language that strangles emerging possibilities. Second, the educator as story-maker helps trace and meaningfully record the interactions of the actors and objects in the expanding spaces. Third, the educator as interpreter helps all to make community sense of the patterns emerging among these complex systems and understand their own involvements in these patterns of systems. Naturally, educators must be clear about their own entanglement and interests in the emerging systems of thought and action.” (p. 49)

Think about why you have selected this quote.  Then consider what your insights arising from this process of selection and reflection help you notice about your learning dimension.

There are so many quotes in Fenwick’s paper that would help represent my orientation on adult learning and that would be suitable to address the Intercultural Communication learning dimension outlined in my hot case. I selected a quote on the enactivist perspective as it links my reflections to the broader, global perspective of whole system thinking. That allows me to consider my professional practice as part of a much more complex hologram that relates to the emergence of a new thinking paradigm. Traditional approaches to intercultural understanding have attempted to stereotype cultural traits and perpetuate the Eurocentric, essentialist view of culture. The enactivist perspective allows for ways to transcend such confinements.

How do Fenwick’s comments on the role of the adult educator (identified above) help you to view your role in addressing the learning dimension you have identified?

  • I relate to Fenwick’s quote because it is linked to a new paradigm of learning emerging from a whole system thinking approach. It allows me to transcend the confinements of traditional education and of the established worldview in which our education system is rooted. Acting in a differentiated role of a communicator-story maker-interpreter is really what I like doing as an educator. That entails an investigative, open-ended approach to understanding and learning that is not separate from teaching. The language used in the enactivist perspective is conducive to understanding relations between systems, including the interplay of actors and issues in the education universe.

2) Then reflect on your overall experience in this course. What will you take away with you?

See below under 3)

3) Through this reflection, crystallise a ‘take home’ message. Then describe in one paragraph what prompted this message.

The main value in this course has been the recognition that the vast majority of us learners already engage in their respective professional practices. This implies that, in our daily interaction, the emphasis is more on reflection and effectiveness than on doing research. FLIP has allowed for an open-ended approach to learning, and valued written outcomes that reflect learners’ experience rather than the enumeration of academic scholarly citations. The work group enhanced the processing and reflective phase without turning into the usually debated chore of “writing a group paper.” This course has also showed a conducive and respectful learning environment free of wounding learning drama and has provided a very effective hands-on experience in applied mindfulness and reflection.

I will come away with renewed confidence that “another learning is possible,” paraphrasing the well-known motto of the World Social Forum.

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