Vicki Suter

Discovering the power of good questions

What does it mean to be “transparent” in my learning?

Is the heart of reflection the exposure of my learning – in process and as it emerges? This is so uncomfortable for me, to let others see my journey through rough and wrong-headed thinking and interpretation of my experiences to some (always temporary) end-state of a learning process. I guess I don’t mind being vulnerable if the exposure is in the moment, is ephemeral – the passionate discussion exploring ideas with others – but if it is frozen in some sort of public artifact, in a way that is divorced from context, like a single blog post, I find myself paralyzed and even fearful. What is the risk here? What is the worst that can happen? I guess I don’t want to be judged by those who see the tiniest, narrowest slice of me in a moment of time, with no frame of reference or opportunity to interact.


5 comments on “What does it mean to be “transparent” in my learning?

  1. Sione
    June 15, 2012

    I can relate to this. For me, yes, judgment is scary, but also the idea that once it is written down and captured…does that send a message that I believe this forever and ever? Am I never allowed to change my mind? To rethink my position in light of new information?

    Maybe this fear for me comes from my training as an English major: I was taught to draw conclusions/make arguments from looking at a single work rather than a body of work over time. If Freire said one thing in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, I’d quote it and use it, and there was no recognition on my part that he may have changed his mind and written something different later.

  2. vsuter
    June 15, 2012

    Maybe this is a whole new meaning of “out of context” when the context is the organic development of an idea over time, ideas with legs being emergent, not fixed. As I think about it, many of the authors I quote have a body of work that I draw from, so it usually isn’t one quote, but a larger context. Maybe authors feel about quotes like singers/bands feel about getting the same request all the time – dude, I’m so far beyond that! Move on!

  3. Maybe ideas are just launching pads for other stuff. In other words, perhaps it doesn’t matter what we think or say at any single instant. Perhaps, what matters is the trajectory. The same goes for our engagement with the ideas of others. It matters more, to me, what I do with the ideas I cite than which ideas I cite. The fact that I return to certain people again and again (Elbow, Emerson, Freire) suggests that those are the people that inspire me most — the thinkers that most incite my work.

    • vsuter
      June 19, 2012

      Trajectory is a great way to describe it. When I take that back to my mulling over the idea of the artifact and reflection, I wonder if coming to understand the trajectory (of the writer one reads, or the idea one studies) is one form of reflection, and another form is understanding one’s own trajectory? I think the aspiration in the design of a learning arts core at a school – more meaningful to me than the “liberal arts core” – is that the learner will reflect over time, making connections between learning experiences (as represented by artifacts they’ve collected? That still puzzles me) and coming to realize they’ve arrived . . . somewhere?

      • There’s a strand of something really great here — that we can’t decide in advance what is (or should be) “core” but that it is emergent during the process. Reflective portfolios don’t serve the “core”; they are it.

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This entry was posted on June 15, 2012 by in Digital Identity and tagged , .
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