California Dreaming

Ritchie, Laura (2017) California Dreaming. Effic Research Limited, London. ISBN 9781999794316

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Abstract

This is a book about equality, freedom, liberation, liberality, openness, becoming, and importantly it is a book not about theorised ideas, but about what really happened. In these pages you will find the story of our learning journey and hear the voices of students, teachers, and even some people we met along the way. Everyone grew. Some retained aspects of the classic titles they had at the beginning, as students, whereas others were totally transformed into more than co-learners for the trip, becoming respected as peers and colleagues. It is the true story from my and others’ points of view, that includes more than the good bits; it is a rounded picture that also includes the tricky times and the splinters. It’s not all unicorns and rainbows, but what you get in the end is so worth every bit of effort that goes into it.
In life and learning we are each on a journey. Every day there is travel, there are moments when we realise (or not) how and where we are, and we become more adept at recognising the processes as we travel through them. I am an avid learner. I crave growth, connection, and value, for me and for those around me. One of the biggest challenges as a teacher, for me, is to enable learning in the most meaningful way possible for my students. To do this, that learning has to have real value for each person who experiences it, and that requires commitment, dedication, and ultimately immersion in the process. Certainly in today’s formal academic and learning culture, this can be challenging to achieve. Fortunately I am in an environment, within my department at university, with a very supportive manager, where I am completely encouraged to develop learning to my fullest capabilities. I am very fortunate.
Over the past year through my work on this project, including collaborations with David and others, I have come to learn that my strength is that I can help people to realise untapped capabilities. I see possibilities in people, and communicate a genuine belief in them that encourages them to take action to achieve. Perhaps it works through sheer-minded commitment to show them and be willing to take the journey with them? I’m not sure. I have taken the view that I can demonstrate the possibilities of learning by going with them, metaphorically walking along side until they can run ahead. This doesn’t come from a textbook. It is something quite intuitive, obvious, and almost second nature for me. What we as people and learners want is connection and validation. The best thing for you in your journey through life and learning is to become you, and if as a teacher I can help you do that, then I have done my job.
David said,
“What happens when we design learning experiences WITH other people instead of FOR other people?  What happens when we trust each other enough to share ideas and resources in such an open way that the conversation actually changes our minds?
The language of learning-- words like creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication-- has been so relentlessly hijacked by policy makers and marketers that we can barely recognize these things when they happen in the world, but each of us knows learning when we see it.  And the real magic is when we find kindred spirits in learning.  Mentors.  Colleagues.  Creative centers of energy that give us ideas and reasons to be more, better, resilient.
This is the story of learning off the leash.  Of what happens when people make the simple choice to take the risk, to take the leap and trust, to create value for each other, to be interdependent, to be entrepreneurs without businesses, to be outlaws and act outside institutions and trade in that most dangerous commodity of all: Hope.”
There are funny, frustrating, lovely, and sad bits, and in the end there is a real take home message for all of us. The possibilities are real, and yes you can.
The story begins on a sunny afternoon in September 2014, when four creatively minded academics met, across the world, via Skype.

Item Type: Book
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
M Music and Books on Music > MT Musical instruction and study
Divisions: Departments > Music
Depositing User: Laura Ritchie
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2018 14:08
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2018 16:36
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/3341

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