Imagination becomes more and more a test of one's humanity because it is an expression of freedom. (Caleb Gattegno, The Universe of Babies)
This post contains some thoughts about recent experience.
Awarenesses come from experience, in the form of things I have felt, seen, heard and read. They are emotions, words, sentences, questions, gestures, concepts... I am more likely to learn from experience through detailed and systematic recording, reflection, validation with others, and imagining of future actions... making these experiences more readily available for future use.
I need reminders. A seashell in the pocket reminds me to remain centred (Lindbergh's Gifts from the Sea, the holiday in Antigua where I found it), through which I regain stillness.
Looking for points where it is possible to act differently brings a sense of spontaneity, creativity - what John Mason calls a 'moment of freedom'. If I do not feel such moments, why am I doing what I am doing?
1. Students must be presented with opportunities to make choices in order to become able to respond to offers and demands being made of them. This will take time: it will be necessary to let go of frustration, to look for ways to support students in making conscious decisions.
2. Frustration and conflict arises from dishonesty with myself and others. If I make a genuine offer, I must be ready to accept that this offer may be declined. What then?
3. I should avoid making assumptions about the children I teach. Are there circumstances of which I need to be aware? Is this student making a conscious decision to act in this way? If not, how can I help them become more aware of possible choices available to them? Conversation is crucial, labelling is harmful.
4. Anyone may be capable of anything, but we can only act according to what we can discern, and the actions that are available to us, at that moment. As such, it is useful to suspend judgements (about myself and others).
5. Emotional (visceral) reactions warrant further interrogation. What am I reacting strongly to - a challenge to my core beliefs (bringing self-doubt), perhaps a sense of failure? If I am reacting emotionally to the actions of students, is a different nature of response available?