Flexible engagement

In this post I expand to education the scope of the principle of “flexible engagement”—“an ideal in which researchers in any knowledge-making situation are able to connect quickly with others who are almost ready—either formally or otherwise—to foster participatory processes and, through the experience such processes provide their participants, contribute to enhancing the capacity of others to do likewise.” (Taylor 2005, p. 225). Read more of this post


Intersections of  history, personal change, creativity, memory–and, more generally,  journeying: An evening with Johnny Clegg

A concert I went to last night reminds me that making spaces for connecting, probing, reflecting, creating cannot be a matter of finding the right theory and then implementing it (see topic of a current collaborative exploration).
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If your argument keeps shifting from one time to the next, can I trust that you are really open to argument (i.e., to examining evidence, reasoning, and assumptions)?

What follows is one of my own contributions in an activity for the first few weeks of a course in critical thinking, in which students are asked to “tease out a range of arguments people—including yourself—are not happy with, find patterns in them (including across other students’ contributions, not only your own), and try to find ways to be constructive, not denunciatory, of what you disagree with or are perplexed by.”
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Why does no-one do 24/7 critical thinking: a thought-piece

Critical thinking, as philosophers traditionally define it, requires scrutiny of assumptions, evidence, and reasoning involved in any proposition. Of course, none of us do that scrutiny all the time. I don’t, for example, question whether the appendage coming out of my left shoulder—my arm—is part of my own body.
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Have we constituted a group that might effectively promote a new organization of scientists (or inquirers)?

Thought-piece by Peter Taylor circulated by email soon after the “Ecology at the Boundary of Human Systems” workshop, March 2000.
1. Have we constituted a group that might effectively promote a new organization of scientists (or inquirers)? [Referring to proposal for American Federation of Scientists]
2. What would we need to do to assess this likelihood? What inquiry would we need?
3. How would we support each other to pursue that inquiry?
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Workshop on Making Spaces for Connecting, Probing, Reflecting, Creating

“Most workshops are dysfunctional—this one wasn’t!” read one evaluation from the first New England Workshop on Science and Social Change (NewSSC) workshop in 2004. Appreciative feedback like that may feel like validation for any workshop or collaborative processes that you facilitate, but how well can you articulate or support the principles or theory about personal and group change that underlie those processes? Moreover, how would you lead people who experience the dysfunction in many workshops, collaborations, conferences and meetings into making the effort to create something more fulfilling?

This four-day workshop is intended to allow participants to delve into the principles or theory that underlie their own workshop or collaborative processes and develop plans to make those processes more effective in some sense(s) that they deem important….
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I didn’t know that I could gain a lot by valuing the perspectives of people who are older and yet…

My response to friends who asked for a note for their child’s 13th birthday.

Dearest L,
You’re 13. You don’t need to pay any attention to what us old folks say. But from watching you since you were little, I suspect that you will think and ponder over this, even though you’ll make your own sense of the present, past, and future.
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