Vertical-unity—Relationship between the 4Rs and Probe-Connect-Create Change-Reflect II

Continuing a series of posts on the development of the Collaborative for Exploration of Scientific and Political Change within the framework of Ben Schwendener’s Seminar on Creativity.

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8 June ’11
Relationship between the 4Rs and Probe-Connect-Create Change-Reflect (continued)

Does the following parallel work?

Probe Connect Create change Reflect
Respect Risk Revelation Re-engagement

Could they all be about bridging gaps that always arise given the unruliness of complexity?

Q: Why would you take a risk? Why would you probe?
(These questions are asked in the spirit that change (which includes actions) flows readily once the vertical-unity is in place.)
Answer 1: Because there are necessarily gaps to bridge.
A2: Because once you have respect and connections you can risk and probe—you don’t need to continue along previous lines.
A3: You don’t have to take a risk or probe. Indeed, we can expect that you won’t all the time—the support will be insufficient. However, when you are ready to do so the 4Rs will help—or the 4Rs will help you get ready.

Q: Why would you Probe-Connect-Create Change-Reflect?

If you invoke the factor in the left column, we ask why and then categorise the reasons given in the other 5 columns

Activist Intellectual Pedagogical Institutional not clear
Broaden access to the production of science knowledge & technology Social commitment Interest in promoting lifelong learning
Social commitment ?
Interest in promoting lifelong learning Disposition for LLL (esp. for P-C-CC-R);
Bridge reality’s gappiness
As part of re-engagement flowing from 3Rs
Disposition for LLL ?
Bridge reality’s gappiness Unruly complexity makes this unavoidable Juggling the 6 aspects of the mandala makes this do-able
Why seek re-engagement flowing from 3Rs Enhances disposition for LLL; Enhances bridging of gappiness of reality
As part of participating in the Collaborative Attracted by the explicit mission of the Collaborative
Attractiveness of the explicit mission of the Collaborative Broaden access.. Further problem-based learning
Further problem-based learning To promote lifelong learning; To add tool in teaching repertoire As part of initiatives and experiments
Add tool in teaching repertoire ?
Develop
initiatives and experiments
Further problem-based learning; As part of promoting open spaces
Promote open spaces Enhancesre-engagement flowing from 3Rs

Vertical-unity—Notes towards a new bio for the person behind the creative project

Continuing a series of posts on the development of the Collaborative for Exploration of Scientific and Political Change within the framework of Ben Schwendener’s Seminar on Creativity.  One of Ben’s requirements is to write a bio for the person behind the creative project.

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7 June ’11
Notes towards a new bio

Let me step back from previous bios and tease out what it means to be a facilitator of learning in workshops like the one from the late 1980s.

Facilitator brings tools and processes to the attention of learners who study situations

  • at the same time as learning about their own situatedness
    • in order to change the situatedness, the study, and the situations
    • (Actually, change is always already happening; appearances of stasis have to be actively constructed)

One aspect of unruly complexity at each level (i.e., situations, situatedness, changing both) is the use of Discursive Reductions (of the complexity into simple themes),

To this end, the tools and processes are designed with respect -> risk -> revelation -> re-engagement in mind

  • where re-engagement includes happiness learning in the present (Makiguchi)
  • and taking initiative in and through relationships
    • which necessitates juggling of the six aspects of the Mandala–
    • Indeed, the very ambiguity of this juggling is experienced happily.

Complementing this inward, disposition sense, re-engagement also includes action in the following directions:

  • Probing
  • Connecting
  • Creating change
  • Reflecting

Always such reflective practice opens up the unruly complexity in order to move in those directions.
(Attempting to move in those directions without paying attention to the heterogeneity of components, their development over time, and their embeddedness in wider dynamics is to

  • rely on Method
  • miss opportunities for happiness in the present
  • restrict the very movements, and
  • inhibit the flexible combination of opening up and direction-finding

Tension between open spaces and closing off of spaces…
Flexible engagement…

Ambiguities

  1. Inward sense and an emphasis on process, not on the specifics of change in particular situations
  2. Opening up and open spaces, stepping away from the closings off and Discursive Reductions that may be a regrettably necessary part of specific situations
  3. My emphasis on the inward sense, process, opening up, and open spaces is not simply a practical matter of using the limited time available, the specific circumstances I’m in, and the realization that #1 and 2 make me happier. It’s also a move to avoid grappling with the kind of change in situatedness, study, and situations that I profess to be preparing others to make.

So, let me admit that shadow, but modulate it: Set up support for myself as a facilitator of learning (e.g., having an assistant for the Collaborative) in a way that enables me to be a learner as well. My learning is more about studying situations than it is about changing situatedness, study, and situations.

Admitting my shadow affirms or heightens the advice that the six aspects of the Mandala need to be juggled, that is, kept in the air at the same time. It especially pushes back against the hierarchical expectation in which I am the initiator by virtue of bringing tools and processes and perhaps by having made more contributions to the topic or issue at hand. Indeed, there is a deeper ethic or ideal of mutual aid and free association here. Learners can be seen as free apprentices, aiming to draw what they can from my facilitation (in the areas of tools & processes, connections, and contributions to the topic) so that they can then “hang out their own shingles” as facilitators of learning—Learning especially about unruly complexity of situations, situatedness, and change.

All this applies even when the topic of issue at hand is not obviously about science and technology. When the Collaborative’s initial prospectus refers to undermining barriers of access to the production of scientific knowledge and technology, I mean re-engagement, with all that goes into that.

Vertical-unity—Relationship between the 4Rs and Probe-Connect-Create Change-Reflect

Continuing a series of posts on the development of the Collaborative for Exploration of Scientific and Political Change within the framework of Ben Schwendener’s Seminar on Creativity.  One of Ben’s requirements is to write a bio for the person behind the creative project.

——–

7 June ’11
New start to Bio
I am a teacher—better, a facilitator of learning—who believes that everything is always already unruly complexity. Everything and everybody—myself, other learners, the situations we study, the social circumstances we work in, and the initiatives we get involved in to try to change those circumstances and the situatedness we inquire into.

What do I mean by unruly complexity? At a very abstract level the term refers to situations that involve heterogeneous components, that develop over time, and that are embedded in wider dynamics. In order to learn…


7 June ’11
Relationship between the 4Rs and Probe-Connect-Create Change-Reflect.

Probe using tools & processes
Connect ideas; people
Create change in understandings; in situations
Reflect
Respect private universes each of us have; diverse others
Risk depart from predefined understandings & practice
Revelation seeing our own work in new ways; understanding in ways that are our own
Re-engage each of us with ourself (=Makiguchi’s happiness learning in the now); collaborations; flexible engagement
Respect Risk Revelation Re-engagement
Probe x
Connect x x
Create change x x x
Reflect x x x

(Note: x’s denote more obvious parallels, but the chart cannot capture the dynamics, e.g., Respect makes it possible to connect with others in ways that make it easier to take risks…)

Vertical-unity—a bio for the person behind the creative project

Continuing a series of posts on the development of the Collaborative for Exploration of Scientific and Political Change within the framework of Ben Schwendener’s Seminar on Creativity.  One of Ben’s requirements is to write a bio for the person behind the creative project.

——–

6 June 2011
Bio-First draft
“Now it is no longer possible simply to continue along previous lines,” remarked one participant at the close of a workshop for ecological researchers and students I co-organized in the late 1980s. Participants had identified and mapped the diversity of things that motivated, facilitated, or constrained their inquiries and their action. The ideal was that they woudl become able to self-consciously modify their social situatedness and their research together, perhaps in collaborations formed with other workshop participants.

The ideal was hard to realize, but the workshop prefigured the combination Probe-Connect-Create Change-Reflect that I now see as central to my efforts to foster critical thinking and reflective practice in the life and environmental sciences, teaching and learning, and institutional/organizational development. From the late 1990s to the present I have pursued this work from a base in UMass Boston’s Critical & Creative Thinking (CCT) graduate program. In CCT we challenge and support mid-career and career-changing students to take themselves seriously. One track in CCT is “Science in a Changing World,” which is also the umbrella term for several initiatives I lead in and beyond the University in which researchers and students develop ways to make contributions to topics concerning the sciences and their social contexts.

There is an ambiguity at the heart of this work. I am persistently critical thinker, raising alternatives that can be held in tension with what others had accepted as established. I allow this to distance me from the sustained negotiated collaborations in less-than-ideal, real-world contexts. In my teaching and workshop settings you can learn about and gain experiences of tools and processes for Probing, Connecting, Planning for making Changes, and Reflecting. You can also get my encouragement for Creating Change.  But don’t expect me to be so helpful in demonstrating how to realize change in your particular situations. You might say, “No problem—that’s my responsibility.” But let me warn you that opening up possibilities of change while moving on to further critical thinking is a shadow (in Parker Palmer’s sense) that accompanies my work and life; there’s some unfaithfulness there that detracts from what I offer.

Vertical-unity—a listing of possible elements

Continuing a series of posts on the development of the Collaborative for Exploration of Scientific and Political Change within the framework of Ben Schwendener’s Seminar on Creativity.

——–

6 June ’11
Angles and themes
1. Mutual aid and free association
2. Critical thinking and reflective practice.

  • CT involves holding ideas and practices in tension with alternatives [vs. accepting what is taken for granted]. From http://www.faculty.umb.edu/pjt/journey.html:
  • Critical thinking at this level should not depend on students rejecting conventional accounts, but they do have to move through uncertainty. Their knowledge is, at least for a time, destabilized; what has been established cannot be taken for granted. Students can no longer expect that if they just wait long enough the teacher will provide complete and tidy conclusions; instead they have to take a great deal of responsibility for their own learning. Anxieties inevitably arise for students when they have to respond to new situations knowing that the teacher will not act as the final arbiter of their success. A high level of critical thinking is possible when students explore such anxieties and gain the confidence to face uncertainty and ambiguity.

3. Engagement with unruly complexity

  • situations that involve heterogeneous components, develop over time, and are embedded in wider dynamics

4. Flexible engagement
5. Open spaces (between activism and academic research)

  • practicing with tools and processes and building connections and, on this basis, making contributions to the topic

6. Respect -> Risk -> Revelation -> Re-engagement
7. Opening up access to the production of scientific knowledge and technologies.
8. Facilitator in #4, 5,6 is also a learner.

  • That is consistent with #1.

9. Vertical unity versus horizontal-change
10. “Mandala” = 5 aspects of Making space for taking initiative in and through relationships = “negotiate power/standards,” “horizontal community,” “develop autonomy,” “acknowledge afftect,” and “be here now” plus “Embrace diversity”
11. Heterogeneity (e.g., of elements in vertical-unity, in the Rs of the CCT experience, in conditions for a successful workshop)
12. We know more than we are, at first, able to acknowledge, http://www.faculty.umb.edu/pjt/journey.html, especially a-j on teaching & facilitating critical thinking
13. Sense-making contextualization

  • a) The essence of the project is…
  • b) The reason(s) I took this road is (are)…
  • c) The best of what I have achieved is…
  • d) What has been particularly helpful to me in this project has been…
  • e) What has hindered me has been…
  • f) What I am struggling with is…
  • g) What would help me now is…

14. Reevaluation of emotions at the root of a response so as to better take initiative

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