Brad's Fifth Posting

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For my fifth posting I’d like to observe a more personal sharing and reflection of my thoughts regarding learning circles by setting aside professional implications and how I might make use of them in my classroom and instead share some more personal observations I have noticed. In short, I have been thinking a lot about what kind of personal growth and development I have experienced while participating in our learning circles. Those who know me well, know this is not easy.
One of the things I now understand on a deeper level is that we are more alike than we are different. (I always knew that, but more and more things keep being revealed to me) and that as long as the ties that bind us together are stronger than those that would tear us apart, all will be well. Some churches refer to it as “the communion of saints….? Communion is the key word for me in this context and that is how I often felt while participating in a circle space. Even after classes I felt more connected and together and more comfortable taking risks. Focusing on the “messenger instead of the message? made learning circles more real. As I listened to other people’s experience, strength, and hope over the last few weeks, I realize it is shared…all of it, and in that realization rests much of my “wellness."
Learning circles also became more meaningful for me when I began to focus on the process as well as the “topics? or “stories.? Initially, I witnessed the process and then cautiously participated in the process. But as time went on, I was more conscious about the process…I was able to feel the process much like a movement in a symphony. That learning circles can allow for such growth and dynamic in and of themselves is efficacious.
Perhaps that is what Myles Horton meant when he said, “…it’s important to understand that the quality of the process you use to get to a place determines the end result.? (Horton, 1998). For me this means if I want understanding, I must be understanding; if I want willingness, I must be willing; if I want tolerance, I must be tolerant. The variations on the same theme are endless. Myles Horton put it this way when talking about building a democratic society: “If you want love and brotherhood, you’ve got to incorporate them as you go along, because you can’t just expect them to occur in the future without experiencing them before you get there.? I like the empowerment this idea gives to those who choose to partake. It gives added clarity to the adage you reap what you sow. To be sure, I have been witness to some intrinsic changes that can occur when an environment of trust and care and sincerity is created for all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons.
And as I look back, my process has been enhanced and strengthened. And my lame metaphor of a lock has been opened and tossed aside for a new…!

1 Comment

Contratulations, Brad, on completing your 5th and final posting. And thank you for sharing more personal reflections on your experiences of learning circles and our class. I am expecially moved by your comment, "even after classes I felt more connected and together and more comfortable taking risks." I would like to know more about what that experience has been like for you. I was also struck by your description of how you experienced the learning circle process and your image of feeling like movement in a symphony.

If you are willing to share it on Saturday, I am eager to hear about your new metaphor for growth...

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This page contains a single entry by Bradley Jurk published on April 7, 2007 6:40 AM.

Rosalyn's Random Thoughts. was the previous entry in this blog.

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