As educators, we have little time to reflect on our practice. I'm convinced that the reason for this is largely political - who knows what we might think, share, or decide to change if we have time to really explore and consider the issues affecting what we do in our day to day working lives? Means of resistance are becoming more squeezed, as we fight the bureaucracy of 'academic capitalism', where time is money, and less time is our own. Twitter exchanges are carried out in soundbites; there is anger and there is frustration, and most of all, there is pain. We are all grieving for something - our disconnection from the natural world, from each other, for a world of equality which is unlikely to come in our lifetimes, for certainty and answers when everything feels upside down.
Yet we need to continue to seek out affirmative approaches to change, that take us out of places of pain and inspire hope. These might just be temporary 'lines of flight,' but the disruptions to the status quo can produce a ripple effect that lead to lasting change, even if we can't see what these might be right now, or know where they might take us. Networks like #ClearTheAir slow down linear time as conversations loop and emerge through thinking that is deeply relational and reflexive; but most of all informal, driven through the will of individuals to learn and share together in a spirit of humility and vulnerability. These are the kind of spaces where learning happens, but they require a presence and openness that can be difficult, particularly when we are fearful. Being reflective in this context means letting go; or as Brene Brown would say, 'daring greatly.' Perhaps this is one resolution to start with in this new year.
In 2017 the fab Benjamin Doxtdator (@doxdatorb) put together a podcast which encourages us to take a pause and reflect on the 'productive interruptions' which might create small ruptures in the systems that limit and constrain us. You can listen to it here: http://www.longviewoneducation.org/give-educators-pause-2018/ On the back of his brilliant idea, I suggested we take the first 30 days of January 2018 to continue pausing and reflecting in response to different questions about social justice in education, grouping them with the hash tag #30DaysReflectResist. And now I'm suggesting we do it again in the early days of 2020.
I have started to post reflective questions on the 30 Days Google doc - please take a look and add your own question to the list. I will then post one for each day of January on Twitter using the hash tag #30DaysReflectResist. How much or how little you join in is up to you, but if you would like to pause and reflect in the company of others, it might be a great way to start your new year.
It's in our interests to stay awake and alert to means of resistance, even when anaesthetizing (in whichever way we choose) feels like an easier way to deal with the pain. As the structures within which we work become more restrictive and stultifying, it may be that the rhizomatic connections we make through projects like this really are the best hope we have for change and transformation.
Looking forward to reading your thoughts and tweets over the coming month - many thanks for sharing.