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A Blog Experiment

I am using software called NVivo. Essentially, I use it to organize and summarize qualitative data. One cool feature is the ability to create a word cloud. I am experimenting with that feature and using the image facility on my laptop. I summarized some World Cafe events we held in February and March. The results were simply outstanding. The only fly in the ointment was I had to scan the picture and lost the colour.

The overarching question we created our conversation around was: “What engages us in learning?

February 4, 2012

Think of a time that you feel was a high point in your learning. This would have been a time you felt most alive, effective, and engaged in the learning process. Describe how you felt. What made this possible?

February 18, 2012

“Without being humble, describe what you value most about yourself. How does this contribute to the experience of learning for you? What setting does this seem to flourish best in? What would attract you to that setting?”

March 3, 2012

What encourages us to continue learning and see learning as important in our lives?

Questions emerged. I thought the most interesting was an absence in the data. What about teacher expertise in subject area or technical knowledge? It could be these are unstated but assumed necessary. Or it could be that the relational aspect, the art of teaching, is so important to this group of people the technical and subject knowledge is secondary.  What do others think about this?


About ivonprefontaine

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and spent the last 14 years teaching in an incrediable hybrid school setting. My dissertation topic and research were how certain teachers experience becoming who teachers. For me, teaching is a calling and vocation that allows me to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what will call me next. I am an educator, phenomenologist, scholar, published poet, author, parent, grandparent, and spouse.

7 responses »

  1. What a graphic demonstration of values. Good to see this narrative.

    • David, that is interesting that I did not mention my feelings that values drive or should drive education, but you, thousands of kilometres away, picked up on that. In a highly secular, bureaucratic world, it becomes easy to miss the spiritual and values driven education we need for children and adults. Thank you.

  2. Ivon, when I see the World Cafe events displayed in this format it certainly makes me proud to have been part of it. There is much wisdom in the comments and certainly a huge amount of food for thought!

    • It was and is a worthwhile venture. I think a new conversation is gradually emerging and am grateful to you and others who joined in the first, albeit small, tentative steps.

  3. Great post for teachers. Your posts always make me think. Learning is my life. More than anything I love to learn and experiment. One of the things that drives me most is need. If I sense that I am needed or that I need to know something in order to function more effectively in my life or in the lives of others. From there, the pure joy of mastery takes over. I can’t say that my level of mastery has high standards, but when I get to the point of expertise that satisfies me, I move to something else. I never polish it to a point of competitive perfection. Thanks for sharing.

    • The idea of need is important in teaching and parenting. It is how we affirm who we are and what we do, I think. Maybe, as you suggest, mastery is not completing. Aristotle suggested good and better had high standards but were not finished in the way we complete a product. It is more a process.


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