Harbouring Dreams

I have always identified as an athlete. Not a professional, not even close, but someone who worked hard, put in the required amount of time in the gym, and had some decent success at a local or amateur level. Like most young people I harboured dreams of pursuing sporting greatness and whilst these were never anything more than dreams, they instilled in me a work ethic that enabled a belief that I was someone who could do whatever it was that I put my mind to. This mindset has transcended sport and enabled me to achieve things in my life that I never thought would be possible.

As you get older however you can no longer physically do what you once did. Sure, you can still train, keep fit, play sport and use exercise as a release from everyday stress, but the physical toll of pushing your body starts to present itself through injury. When you can physically no longer do what you once did there becomes moments in time when your identity is questioned. What you thought you knew about yourself is challenged. Grounding yourself in a more fluid notion of identity based on more enduring qualities takes some serious work.

I am sure at some point I will be able to look back more objectively, but setting yourself personal goals and falling short due to your body not having the same strength as your mind is deflating. The challenge is to overcome your self-definition of what you once did. There is freedom in this. Letting go of who you thought you were enables a more flexible understanding of who you were, are and might be in the future.

Thankfully I am making peace with this new reality. However, I still harbour dreams…

Dispositions of Teacher Learners

What are the dispositions of those teachers who naturally see themselves as learners and chief investigators of their own practice? What are the enabling and contextual factors?

This is what I am trying to find out through my PhD studies. My contention is that certain default and perhaps tacit understandings can predispose an individual to be unable to engage in the necessary formation and reformation of professional identity that is required to engage in new learning. This inhibiting behaviour results in an individual essentially “shutting up shop.” The inverse is also true however, and those teachers who are able to have multi-membership of different communities of practice within the broader landscape of practice seem to be at home in this process of identity formation and reformation. The insightful and intuitive organic dispositions of these individuals enable them to disregard boundaries and instead seamlessly cross boundaries of community, competence, knowledgeability and self-narrative whilst engaging in a multiplicity of practices within a specific context. This is what some might refer to as being innovative.

I’ve even started working on a model. It’s still early days but much of my current work is investigating Polanyi, Nonaka, Brock, Dreyfus, Agyris, Schon, Wenger, Beauchamp and Thomas.