Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Every Friday morning we met, the seven of us. We were the circle. Our power was in our vulnerability with each other. We meditated, we read, we were present in dialogue. We were the circle. Illness took one of us away. Then there were six.
Every Friday morning we met, the six of us. We were the circle. The questions were asked by the others, “What do you talk about? How is it that you can get away for a whole hour and just talk about nothing?” Always our response, “We meet every Friday, come join our circle.” They did. They felt uncomfortable, irritated, bewildered, they bristled at the vulnerability that was required to honour each in the circle, to give power to each in the circle. They let us continue offering paternalistic platitudes of what tremendous work we were doing. They sanctioned the dialogue circle as a professional development strategy to humanize the workplace. Hoping against all hope that the small room would contain the small circle. Retirement took one of us away. Then there were five of us.
Every Friday we met, the five of us. We were the circle. The questions were asked again, and again we invited them. This time though they could no longer stomach the incongruence of power within the circle, talk could not produce results. Take away the small room, take away the small circle.
Every Friday we do not meet, the five of us. We are the circle. We are in dialogue everyday where there is conflict. We are in dialogue everyday where there is pain. We are in dialogue everyday where there is joy. “Intention, listening, inquiry, advocacy, silence” these were the lights we lit the small room with; these are the lights we light the institution with. We are now five times five, times five, times five, times five, times five.
Everyday we meet, the multitude of us. We are the circle.
(Vincenza was a participant in the Popular Education for Social Change class this past season and she shared this piece in class. I was very moved by it and saw in it something poignant and important for popular educators to keep in mind. Vincenza was kind enough to let me publish this piece here - thanks - c)
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Is my curiosity able to express itself? Is it growing? In my opinion, one of the essential qualities that an authoritative, democratic teaching practice ought to reveal in its relationship with the freedom of students is a sense of its own self-confidence. It’s a self-confidence that expresses itself in a firmness of action or of decision in regard to its respect for the freedom and autonomy of students, its ability to discuss its own positions, and its openness to reviewing both itself and its previously held positions.
If the teacher is imbued with self-confident authority, there will be no need for a speech about it at every available instant. If there is self-confidence regarding its legitimacy, there will be no need to ask anyone: ‘Do you know to whom you are speaking?’ (pp. 85)
Monday, July 07, 2008
Kudos to the WCB's Community Initiatives and Research Program (CIRP), the Manitoba Government Employees Union , the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP), and the consultants that wrote this guide: Joyce Rankin, Laurie Todd and Dorothy Wigmore. Terrific work!
Friday, July 04, 2008
We do need a language of resistance in our struggles with chronic illness, but it needs to be a language free of militarism. I found it wonderfully healing to spend quiet time in nature - a form of resistance perhaps, but hardly a battle. (in Wild Garden: art, education and the culture of resistance, Toronto: Between the Lines)Oliver reminded me of dian. They were kindred spirits. I know from interviews i heard on CBC that Oliver met his death with courage and equanimity. He used the word "acceptance" in one interview. And i heard that he never stopped playing or composing - up until the end.
There's a T-shirt i'm fond of (if also careful about) wearing that says, "You get what everyone gets. You get a lifetime." There is a face of a pretty goth girl with thick make-up and an udjat design around her eye and, as some of you who share my passion for comics know, this is the figure of the Sandman's older sister who is Death. It is a benign and compassionate vision of death (she's pretty hot, too) and it is one that i reflect on a great deal. It is not a sentiment i would share with someone who has just lost someone, but it is one that i think we would all do well to ponder from time to time. Our world puts such great store by the length of a life. And we neglect the depths that can be lived in mere days or hours. I know that Oliver understood something of this. And i am moved, saddened and comforted in this moment of loss.
There' s some lovely YouTube footage of Oliver that you can check out. This piece is from his last concert a month ago. He called the concert his "Last Concert on his Tour of this Planet."
And you simply MUST check out this CBC Concert on Demand: Oliver Schroer Tribute Concert.