17 March 2013

'The Art of Asking'

Is not the world very odd and strange place? How while you are thinking about something, often quite random, you all of a sudden come across many other things that are all linked to the initial thing you were thinking about... an unusual word, or new acronym or concept, for example. I recently wrote a blog post called, 'A drop in the ocean...', an extended metaphor attempting to establish stability and hope in a sea of despair, frustration and confusion. It was inspired by my fabulous and ever-growing PLN, that has recently grown through my participation in the wonderful Flat Classroom Teacher Certification programme.
The post discusses my desire and hope to find other, similar 'drops' to join together, collaborate and cultivate a cloud; to learn and strive to find the best methods and burst forth, raining down our knowledge of learning, in the hope of encompassing and inspiring more drops... and so letting the cycle begin again. From my PL came a rainbow;
"I love the rain drop analogy that you employ. I saw a wonderful Ted Talk yesterday by Amanda Palmer that made me think of you. Your message of hope and optimism in the form of a rain cloud is brilliant and touching. Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain!
This supportive comment cheered me up AND lead me serendipitously to Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman and all that jazz (thank you for your lovely comment btw, you know who you are).

  

I love the idea of sharing and trust explored in Amanda's TEDTalk, 'The Art of Asking'; there are those who will never understand why some of who do what we do (whatever it is, be it art, music, writing, teaching) and give so much of us into what we love - for free. I give my all to my job, it is never 8.30-3.30, it is constant. I see teachable moments in adverts, bill boards, films, books, music, conversation - heck, even aeroplane information cards! I think, I write, I read, I try - and it really impacts the relationship I have with my learners because I am so involved in it. It is not just a pay cheque. My 'obsession' some say, those love-haters, as Amanda says, causes tension. Amanda suggests that they can't see the relationship; they can't see the exchange; the exchange that is very fair to us but alien to them. Because they are not there. They aren't in it. And they can't get there unless they try. They must dip their toes.

The sharabale connectable content in the Internet takes us back to relationships that allow us to really connect. We can ask learners to come on a journey with us. Online tools make it easy and instinctive for learners to connect and share and ask others to help, comment and support; equally, my PLN makes my life easier and much fuller. I feel like I can ask.

My PLN makes me realise it is ok to be 'obsessive' and 'passionate', and importantly, that I am not odd for it and am not the only one. Even while many around me think I am simply 'rocking the boat', my PLN calm the ocean; they know I am just trying to get out of the boat to test the waters. If those around me were onboard, if we were sailing the seas together, we could balance and steady the ship - but they panic and try to push me away for lack of understanding, for resistance to change, for fear of the unknown deep. The Ted Talk led me to Palmer's "Bed Song", which suggests that when we don't communicate, small issues grow bigger and scarier; the deep waters I swim in may look unfathomable, but they hold a million treasures that would be best explored together; I want to take my immediate community with me - we need to talk, we need to reach out, we need to connect, we need to understand, we need to swim around and explore together. Sure, some things will not work, some things will go wrong and not everything will be successful but that is ok. We can bail each other out, we can throw each other a life belt, we can offer a shoulder to cry on or an ear to chew - but we must be there. We must ask.

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Thanks to:
Just One Drop.org
http://www.ted.com/talks/amanda_palmer_the_art_of_asking.html
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennie_m/97330017/sizes/m/in/photostream/