Friday, May 27, 2005

Freire and....frightened!

I am not very optimistic about the pending Workplace Relations Reforms about to hit Aussie workplaces, and what it will mean for Australian higher education institutions. Our PM has the upperhand in the Senate and that makes me ...s c a r e d !!!

The methodology I see here is that of divide-and-conquer. Pit individuals against each other and their attention is diverted from bigger more meaningful things, to smaller detail, the kind that keeps you from engaging in more 'real' things I suppose. Individualisation and economic rationalisation go hand-in-hand. Both remove self from the context in which we live. It disconnects us from the heart of our communities and from each other. In this, we become desensitised to the plight of others, focusing inward on our own situations - like wearing blinkers.

If I'm OK, then things are OK. I just don't buy it at all! Our voices are continually silenced by big brother. We are talked down to, rather than engaged in meaningful conversation, that might mean we could actually change things and own the change, being responsibile for its outcomes, and ultimately our progress forward as human beings.

The thing is this is happening everywhere and at every level of one is exempt! At home, in schools, at work, in our communities. Of course, it's not all bad, there are those who continue to subvert the common paradigm and good on them! We need to maintain a critical mass of those types in order to not crash and burn in a rationalistic flame! What to do? Remain aware I guess! Yoda says it best:
The dark side clouds everything. Impossible to see the future is.'s Sunday morning, so I'll lighten up a tad...maybe images speak louder than words?

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...Artist Unknown

Friday, May 20, 2005

Busy-ness and business

Phew! I can't believe it's Friday AGAIN!

I thought I'd do a quick wrap on events taking place over the past two weeks, as I've struggled to have enough reflection time to formulate a more considered response enough to feel I can post is a collection of incoherent, disjointed thoughts to end the week...

* When will it RAIN in Melbourne??? My lemon trees are shrinking.
* Thank you Cathy Kell for visiting us at Monash Uni from the University of Auckland! I have a strong feeling we will meet again!
* I had a wonderful meeting with an academic in the Education faculty, who is biting the bullet and giving blogs a go with her Singaporean students, beginning end of May! I'm buoyed by this, as we will finally have a chance to evaluate how well the blogging process works in action!
What makes a good blog anyway? (Ken Smith)
Check out a blog conference underway in Sydney at present!
* The more I act the more I know we as human beings must enact our experiences for them to become meaningful! I'm really enjoying being a part of a small playback performance group at the moment!
* I'm gearing up to travel overseas in a couple of weeks. It's an interesting process shifting your mind from one place into another and back again. It's not just a border-crossing, but a transfer of mind and experiences!
* I'm thinking of my sister who has just flown to Costa Rica to undertake 10 weeks of community based volunteer work. Man is she gutsy! Hope you have fun and learn heaps girl! :o)

...and finally, a line from Freire (just coz it's Friday after all!)...
...while humanization and dehumanization are real alternatives, only the first is man's (sic) vocation (p.20, chapter 1, Pedagogy of the Oppressed).
Have a wonderful weekend world! :o)

Monday, May 16, 2005

Freire Friday (urr, Monday?) ... on revolution

(Well, I missed my self-imposed Friday deadline, so it's Freire on Monday instead!)

Freire said:
I interpret the revolutionary process as dialogical cultural action which is prolonged in 'cultural revolution' once power is taken. In both stages a serious and profound effort at conscientization is necessary. It is the necessary means by which men (sic), through a true praxis, leave behind the status of objects to assume the status of historical Subjects (p.128, chapter 4).

I thought it quite timely that I landed on this quote! Given our organisation's current state of flux under a restructure, this stood out to me. How I read it was like this...

...the revolutionary process works like a conversation which helps to define the actions undertaken, or enacted, by the memebrs of a community. In order for this process to indeed be revolutionary, memebers must be fully conscious and 'present' in their awareness of the conversation(s) unfolding.

In this way, only then can we truly connect with one another and engage in a reflexive process that enables us to reflect on our actions in the process, as it is occurring. We can do this by acknowledging where we have come from but instead of being stuck in the past and in hisotrical favourites let's say, we can move into new territories, trusting that we have learnt something from the past, rather than engaging in the same drama over and over again!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Freire Friday...on leadership

As soon as [potential community leaders] complete the [leadership] course and return to the community with resources they did not formerly possess, they either use these resources to control the submerged and dominated consciousness of their comrades, or they become strangers in their own communities and their former leadership position is thus threatened. In order not to lose their leadership status, they will probably tend to continue manipulating the community, but in a more efficient manner.

When cultural action, as a totalized and totalizing process, approaches an entire community and not merely its leaders, the opposite process occurs. Either the former leaders grow along with everyone else, or they are replaced by new leaders who emerge as a result of the new social consciousness of the community (p.112, chapter 4).

Leadership has been a buzz word for so long, I think we've misinterpreted it to damaging proportions.

For me, leadership is like a night out with dinner at a nice restaurant, where the waiter is the leader. You are greeted warmly and shown to your table...your chair is pulled out for you (nice extra touch that!) are offered a drink to start...the specials are explained in wonderfully appetising detail to are given a moment or two to chat lightly and collect your thoughts as you settle in for the evening...your order is taken (with the occassional nod of agreement, "nice choice ma'am") your meal arrives in its ala carte stages, while in the depths of mealtime conversation, you hardly notice the plates being cleared, your water topped up (the new knife by your plate to replace the one you dropped!)...all because of the attentive, yet slightly distant, waiter.

15 minutes of fame and glory just doesn't work in leadership!!

Educating the Net Generation...

Update: Go to my Apcala blog to access the short intro talk I presented at the session mentioned below. I'd love to hear your views on the topic! I'm rather more interested in the general learning and teaching challenges that arise with all learners, using a conversation like this (ie. about generational learners) to get us kickin'!

I'm co-presenting today at a new series of colloquiums at Monash called Learning Over Lunch. Today we're talking about Educating the Net Generation. It should be quite fun and my aim is not to provide answers (heck, I'm but one person!), but to encourage a lively discussion about coming to terms with the changing student demographic now gracing the university campus (virtually and otherwise!).

I'll post my short intro 'talk' after the session here, if you're interested to read, plus some links I've found worth a read...or a play!