I recently read a beautifully illustrated version of “The Emperor’s new Clothes” with my Grade 2 classes during their library period. I can’t but help feeling like that little boy all the time, first astonished and puzzled whether I’m the only one to notice that there are no clothes, then worried that my vision is inadequate to see, and then when I shout out “the emperor has no clothes” my cry is not caught up and echoed, but rather people turn or face down in embarrassment as if it were I caught naked in a public place. And so I began this course with a niggling sense of frustration in being an education professional and learner in a digital environment.
In my life-long learner / doing a distance education degree I’m frustrated by how ‘same old same old’ it is – what is given on the one hand – the convenience, the asynchronicity, the ‘flat world’, the connectivity, the access, is taken away on the other – the lack of intimacy, the limited discussions, the moving along at a clip, the lack of storming and norming and emphasis on performing (Carabajal, LaPointe, & Gunawardena, 2003). But I realize that it is the same as what Churchill said about democracy in 1947 “it is the worst form … except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”
I have to stay positive, must stay open to ideas and alternatives. I have to look to people who are chipping away and making a difference, like our colloquia guests – Pip Cleaves, Annabel Astbury, Simon Welsh and Rebecca Vivian. I must remember that Rome was not built in a day, that this life is lived in beta. And things that annoyed me in this course (like the late introduction of VoiceThread) are in fact things that I am now trying to introduce to my school, in this case during the Global Read-Aloud, and I’m being met with the same skepticism that I gave myself – the irony.
The case study has allowed me to become more knowledgeable and versed in a topic that I had a superficial understanding of. And again that frustration, that when initiating the topic – I did not know what I did not know – the anosognosic’s dilemma (Morris, 2010). As a result I perhaps did not ask the “right” questions, use the “right” survey, the “right” analysis. In the process I increased my knowledge, but the purpose was not to summarize what I now know, which is the beginning point of any expert in the field. It was to further knowledge by examining something through the case study method. I think I am now understanding how reading reluctance can be seen through a variety of lenses. I’m understanding the profound effect of unconditional fun on enjoyment, motivation and the desire to improve – and my wariness of data-analysis has been vindicated to a certain quantifiable extent.
My wish for myself for the future is that I can both relax and be vigilant. Accept imperfection as I strive to be the best version of myself as an educator and to bring that out in my students, but in a joyful fun way. The middle way.
Carabajal, K., LaPointe, D., & Gunawardena, C. (2003). Group development in online learning communities. In M. G. Moore & W. G. Anderson (Eds.), Handbook of distance education (pp. 217–234). Mahwah, N.J: L. Erlbaum Associates.
Morris, E. (2010, June 20). The anosognosic’s dilemma: Something’s wrong but you’ll never know what it is (Part 1). Retrieved 4 February 2014, from http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/the-anosognosics-dilemma-1/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=1