There are times in a journey that it seems appropriate to take stock, look back, look forward and decide where to go next and how.  Now is one of those times.  I have now finished TU812 so I am leaving behind a learning system that someone else has structured and guided me through.  Now, I am on my own.  I need to be my own guide for a while. Continue reading

My journey through a landscape of practices

(Activity 3.29)

“Learning can be viewed as a journey through landscapes of practice” (Wenger, 2010, in Blackmore, 2010, 185).

Ever since I read it, that phrase has been eating away at me – triggering connections all over the place…

It has given me a sense of dissatisfaction with the way I wrote my post about being part of communities of practice.

I have also made connections with an exercise we had to do in the first assignment for the course, plotting our individual trajectories, the journey that led us to start TU812.  At the time that had value in understanding the importance of our history to our approach to the course.  I wrote my post called Legacy as a result of that exercise.

Finally I was reminded of the way I pictured the C-ball in Reflection on juggling as a sack full of concepts, methods and techniques and my responsibility to keep renewing the contents of that sack.

Making the connection between a journey and the sack made me start thinking…as I have taken my journey through landscapes of practice, what have I learned – in other words what concepts, methods and techniques have I gathered to fill my sack.  This has made me think very differently about my connections with communities of practice.

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 M-ball: Managing

(Activity 2.31 based on Ison (2010, Chapter 8))

The M-ball is for Managing.  Ison says it is:

about how the practitioner is Managing their involvement with the situation (page 58)

I have to say that I found Chapter 8 quite difficult to work with.  It was not the individual paragraphs or the concepts being introduced or used.  I just found it really difficult to get the overall thread, thrust and argument of the chapter.  There are sections that do not flow from their own headings (or at least how I understand/understood those headings).  And I lost track of how the juggler and the balls ‘worked’ for Managing.  But, this is after all an inquiry – it was up to me to take responsibility for understanding the discord I was (am!) experiencing.  So before I look at the particular concepts highlighted in activity 2.31, I want to summarise where that inquiry has brought me so far.

Continue reading

Getting to know the C-ball: Contextualising

(Activity 2.30 based on Chapter 7, Ison (2010))

The C-ball is for Contextualising. Ison (2010) summarises it as:

symbolises the act of Contextualising a particular approach to a new situation (page 58)

So it includes choosing methods, tools and techniques and adapting the use of them to the situation as part of Practice Continue reading

Getting to know the E-ball: Engaging

(Activity 2.29, based on Chapter 6, Ison (2010))

The E-ball is for Engaging.  It is about the choice we make for Engaging with a situation.  Ison (2010) summarises it as:

symbolises the characteristics ascribed to the ‘real-world’ situation that the juggler is Engaging with (page 58)

Most of the concepts and ideas about Situations in the Chapter were familiar to me already – from management, development management and Systems courses.  However, reading the Chapter reminded me of the feeling I had moving from O’level to A’level Biology – I had to revisit what I thought I knew and learn a whole new level of subtlety. 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

Juggling as a metaphor

(Activity 2.20, 2.22)

Updated 29 December 2010

I do use the metaphor of juggling in relation to the competing priorities in my life – being at work; being an OU student; domestic life; spending time with my husband; getting to see our wider family; organising holidays; my allotment; my other hobbies.  When any one of these ‘balls’ is active, there is another sub-set of tasks to juggle – so the allotment ball opens up a series of other balls – plant potatoes; dig in compost; sow leeks and so on. Continue reading

What makes my practice a systems practice

(Activity 2.13)

Ison (2010, 19) says that what constitutes systems practices arises in social relations – if an observer attributes the adjective ‘systemic’ to behaviour they observe or the writings of another.  The observer could be the practitioner themself or another party.

So when I am ‘doing systems practice’ what is it that marks out that behaviour for me?  What makes me feel I am doing it for ‘real’? Continue reading

Worldview and theories of change

(Activity 2.10)

TU812 study guide (p 67/68) says that individuals will have different understandings or theories of change linked to their different Worldviews.

It goes on to list seven elements of a theory of change.  I am going to use these elements to consider the shift I perceive (or blindly hope!) is happening at the moment – in doing so I am aware of the generalisations but I think it is a useful exercise all the same. Continue reading