I have been doing research along with my students. I am at that early and fun/frustrating stage where the question I want to answer is struggling away from me like a slippery fish full of fins. My question is whether or not Harold Jarche’s “seek-sense-share” personal knowledge mastery can reach across into pedagogy. I want to know if I can use it not only as a tool my students can take with them into their own worlds, but also whether it can serve as a frame for doing the everyday work of teaching courses face-to-face. In other words can I use “seek-sense-share” as a method to structure and present each day’s instruction.
I was reading an article from Jarche’s website, where he referenced the work of Clark Quinn’s blog, Learnlets. I have followed Quinn’s work previously, but hadn’t dropped by of late. This post really caught my eye: “Signifying Change”
Interesting, a discussion of ritual in the workplace. Why not ritualize the classroom experience for myself, if not the students. Or perhaps I can use ritual in the classroom with my students, perhaps not “quiet as it’s kept” but in the open?
Why bother? Because sometimes the classroom feels holy, a sacred space. I don’t know what to do with that when we cross the liminal thresholds from profane to sacred, from starting the routine classroom time by calling the roll to realizing that exactly as Rumi advised, “Don’t move. A sublime generosity is coming toward you.” This happens often enough to remark upon, but like the Muse it cannot be called, only listened to. It feels like the romantic call of Shelley in his “Defense of Poetry” when he argues,
Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.
This sacredness feels like an “unapprehended inspiration” in that the feeling cannot be “apprehended,” caught by the ankle and held. The sacred feels like a future shadow cast back upon us in the present. It makes sense if you think of the future as behind us, liminally, not in front of us like Western thought asserts. The sacred feels like the unmoved influencer, a catalyst that invokes but is not consumed. As teachers we feel the sacred descend upon us and then move away. How transformational it would be if we could create the conditions just as poets do to call up the sacred liminal boundary. I cannot help but look back at this paragraph and think, “What bombast!” Yet the Truth for me is that this sacredness happens unbidden, maybe I could invite it in more often with ritual.
So it would seem that my research question has transformed: can ritual be a healthy part of my pedagogical experience? If so, how can I use it to do so?
Here is my initial gathering together of an answer, what Jarche refers to as the “seek” part of the triumvirate of “seek-sense-share”. I am finding Wakelet to be a very handy tool for the initial part of this gathering together. It is a super, digital folder. And if I have been consistent at all I have used this post to seek out information, make sense of it and share it. The model feels right, perhaps not sacred, but not unholy either.