Not sure where to start with this really.  ‘Knowing’ is one of those concepts I have come up against a few times.  Okay straight away my use of the phrase ‘come up against’ in the last sentence tells me that I am in some sort of adversarial battle with this concept.  It feels like that every time I encounter it, I kind of ‘get on top of it’, feel as if I am the master.  But then, it drifts away and next time we meet I have to start all over again. Continue reading

CoP out?

(Activity 3.22, 3.23, 3,24)

It felt clever giving this title to a post about Communities of Practice (CoP).  However, as I am not sure where I am going to go with the post I don’t really know whether it is relevant or not!

I have covered a little bit of ‘community of practice’ theory before – when  I studied Managing Knowledge.  In that field they were seen as a refreshing change to an information management approach as they focused more on human interaction.

Then there is my more recent experience – I think the phrase ‘community of practice’ is getting over-used and applied to entities that don’t really fulfill the essence of what Wenger describes – he and Lave coined the term to describe something very particular

Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. [source E Wenger, , accessed 27 February 2011]

but it seems to get used to refer to any type of group network, especially when internet based social networking platforms are used.

Seems a pity that we participate in things we think of as ‘communities of practice’ but in reality they are not CoP and therefore we may overlook the opportunity to take part in a ‘real’ one.

Perhaps I need to explore my experiences some more….

Continue reading

First impressions….

(Activity 3.1, 3.2 based on Introduction and Chapter 12 in Blackmore (2010))

So Part 3 of the course is about social learning – or to use the formal heading “Social learning, interaction and systemic change”.

From what I gather so far, this draws on some different traditions of research and practice around social learning.

Continue reading

Juggling and my inquiry into my systems practice for managing change

(Activity 2.7, ref. Table 2.3 in study guide)

It seems like ages ago when I wrote the post “An inquiry into my systems practice for managing change“.  I am reminded now that this is a purposeful inquiry – the purpose I identified when writing that earlier post is to achieve a better level of ability to manage change systemically.

In this inquiry the situation is my current systems practice i.e. what I do when I do what I do.  I am concerned with developing my understandings and practices associated with doing systems practice.

The juggler isophor is introduced in order to help make sense of what I do when I do what I do (and why I do when I do what I do).  It is therefore a “system tool” that helps me make sense of the situation – a tool to use in my inquiry. Continue reading

Getting to know the B-ball: Being

(Activity 2.28 based on Chapter 5, Ison (2010))

The B-ball is for Being.  Ison (2010, 58) says it

“symbolises the attributes of Being a practitioner with a particular tradition of understanding”.

To me it entails touching base with the relationship I (the practitioner) have with my framework of ideas.  Those ideas are grounded in my experiences to date – experiences that have come from my history. Continue reading

What is practice anyway?

My first routine use of the word “practice” was when I had piano lessons as a kid.  Practice was about repetition – playing the same pieces again and again until somehow they became easier to do.  My husband is currently studying the OU’s Beginner’s French course – there seems to be a lot of practice in that – partly the motor skills of pronunciation but again lots of repetition until it ‘goes in’.  So I suppose at its most basic level, the word “practice” is about becoming much more familiar with doing something so that it becomes a more natural part of your skill set.  I think that one of the reasons I have chosen to study Systems Practice is so that I can practice it – to keep using it so it is a much more natural part of the way I think and do. Continue reading

The nature of change

I use the word “change” a lot but never really stopped to think about my understanding of the concept.  Just had a few minutes fun looking up “change” on (the trial version).  It has loads of connections so it is obviously quite a rich word.

So what are the foundations of my understanding of “change” and how has that changed (!) as I have got more into systems practice. Continue reading

On becoming a practitioner

I have been reading and finding out about systems stuff for ages.  Going way back – maybe I’ll cover that one day.  Now I am part way through a postgraduate diploma in Systems Practice with the Open University.  This blog is adapted from a post I did to the student forum early in the first module….

In the beginning, we did lots of reading (interspersed with the odd ‘practice’ activity that you can get away with doing half-heartedly). The reading was interesting and I learned a lot about what systems thinking is; how it applies to strategy making; the lives and works of key historic thinkers; the importance of tools and so on.

Then the first assignment came along and told us to do systems thinking for real – or at least practice it. Continue reading