The session was led by Adesola and I have been asked to blog about the first task of the session:
Our first task was to write down one word that we felt would "sum us up," then pair up with someone we didn't know and swap papers with that person. We were then to write what was brought to mind by their word.
I wrote down "teacher" on my piece of paper and then swapped it with my partner Melanie Brown. Mel had written "performer" on the top of her paper and as I thought about what that meant to me I began to write down individual words - creative, passionate, outgoing - then as I carried on the words began to formulate into sentences - waiting for hours in audition queues, taking long baths to ease aching muscles - and so on. After a few minutes we were asked to pass the paper back and then read what the other person had written on our own. Below is what Mel had written under mine:
Adesola then asked us what we thought the task was about.
Conversation flowed about other peoples perceptions and different perspectives of what we see ourselves as, and how there were some similarities, but also some differences, to how we might have answered the question ourselves. It became clear that although the word (in my case) "teacher" would remain constant there would be many different versions of what that meant depending on who was doing the writing. It brought up thoughts about how we are perceived and how the person you are colours the way that you look at the world.There was also a suggestion that it was a nice way to be reminded of the positive aspects of the word, and therefore who we are, which was something that we all felt was easily lost in the daily routine of "being" that thing.
I realised that I had automatically associated performer with dancer, because of my past and knowledge-base/ experience, and Mel said that in writing about "teacher" she had been transported back to thinking about an influential teacher from her past. This lead on to a discussion about how the things that we've experienced in our past shape our outlook on future events.
Georgie Bird commented on the fact that she had written "singer" whereas her friends from Laine had all written "performer." She felt that it was interesting that, even though she had been through the same training as the others, she had seen herself as being one thing rather than another. This led us into thinking about how we percieve ourselves.
Later on in the session we began to look at learning styles, and, when we got to Gardner and his theory of multiple intelligences, I found myself thinking back to the first task and realising that perhaps I had discovered more about myself than I had originally noticed.
In order to explain what I mean I shall look firstly at Gardners theory.
Howard Gardner said that 'people are intelligent in a number of ways.' (Reader 2, p7)
He suggested that each learner engages differently with an experience depending on what type of learner they are:
- Naturalistic (Reader 2, p7)
I would consider myself to be, in Gardner's words, an interpersonal, spatial and bodily-kinaesthetic learner rather than a logical-mathematical, verbal-linguistic learner. In my response to Melanie's "performer" I had written nothing about money, time, logistics or practicalities and formed a mental picture of her coloured by feelings, emotions and past experiences.
It was a fascinating experience to suddenly be aware that everything I do is unique to me, even the knowledge I gain, or the ideas that I have, are assimilated into, and are changed by, this "me." All that learning from such a deceptively innocuous task like describing the meaning of a word!
Here's to many more "lightbulb" moments in the future!