• From practice to theory and back again •
Tools used included a mind mapping activity, creating a pro and con list to provide focus and visual impact, and an activity using postcards to visually and orally illustrate a current situation. Aware of Barb’s limitations when working with text and mindful of the desire to capitalize on the process itself for a range of learning opportunities, as possible I integrated the teaching of reading, writing and numeracy into the explorations. On other occasions, when there was no immediate need to address, no specific topic to guide the conversation, we would take another route, often turning to an activity more dependent on the intellect such as using a dictionary. Again, recognizing the value of a personal connection, I would encourage Barb to suggest words that she would like to learn more about. This approach would sometimes lead us back to a more emotional level; words selected for exploration sometimes caused an issue to surface.
Forsaking the planned route—the guided tour approach—and trusting the process made it possible to provide the emotional connection that was lacking in the first method. I moved into making room for and supporting these links easily. Thus my belief in the value of reflection and selfexamination as vehicles for personal growth played a strong role in the research process. With these biases acknowledged and accepted, I fell easily and naturally into introducing activities that would support reflection and self-examination, and ultimately, change.
Highlights of the Journey: New Perspectives
Rationalizing the route
My intention in introducing the tools was to help Barb with her decision making processes—to encourage her to imagine new possibilities and offer her ways to explore possible outcomes by applying concrete methods of analysis to the difficult circumstances she found herself in. In this context, I did not use the tools to establish goals for “school” learning nor as a means of connecting reading, writing, and numeracy to other goals. The intended use was to equip Barb with tools that she could use again and again to move towards and obtain her objectives. They provided a means of weighing pros and cons, of examining repercussions of various actions, of exploring new possibilities in a non-threatening manner, of coping with the difficult realities in her life. The tools were introduced in response to personal needs that had elicited emotional responses, not as intellectual exercises aimed at creating connections between reading, writing, numeracy and the achievement of personal or imposed goals.
|Previous Page||Table of Contents||Next Page|