Monday 6 August 2012

Biofocusing, educational coaching, mainstream and individual light.

Mainstream, norms, averages, bell-curves, objectives and curricula are not words I would easily associate with educational coaching. Although the idea of educational coaching applied to groups makes some sense to me, individual growth and excellence remain the prime focus.

I have never yet found the main stream in the ocean of education. Strong political and economic currents, yes, philosophical tendencies, check, cultural imperatives, certainly, even strong school traditions and social unity at local level.

At the coal-face, you have faces, eyes, body language, personal stories, nanno patterns of belief and expectation, and rarely do these fit into any box of premeditated purpose. Just yesterday I bumped into a student of almost two decades ago. We were both buying chocolate. He recognised me. I remembered his name and where he sat. He had become an engineer. When I think back to the immense bureacratic machine which processed him, I can't think that it had any lasting effect on him. The machine itself has plenty of new operators, and is unrecognisable. He's found his way, has done pretty well, it seems. They'll have a baby sometime soon.

How long does it take to become an expert? Ten thousand hours, if I remember correctly, as explained by Malcolm Gladwell. Find what you want to do, do it for ten thousand hours, and you're the expert. Hope you enjoy, because what else is there?

I've been an individual for more than ten thousand hours, and there's much that I enjoy, and much that makes me viciously impatient. My light is imperfect. I've always wanted to be part of more wattage and voltage, but somehow my details have escaped the mainstream.

There's a light in every individual. I have never been an advocate of cosiness - life's a surfboard until you fall off and have to swim - yet this many-light-studded humanisphere (I think I've just coined a term?) gleams like a dashboard of daringness, because that's what humans are. Not a mainstream, because how can you have a mainstream of daringness?

I listen to Mike and the Mechanics. A Time and Place? Is that the title? "You have to step outside the line..."

Many do, even if clumsily, and that has to be honoured and recognised, otherwise the movement dies.

Formal education doesn't step outside the line because it's paid for within the line. Jonathan Jansen intrigues me because he's trying to speak from within formal education, yet he wants to say real things.

Here in South Africa, the educands have a hard task: they have to look for a way to connect to something bigger, without being given a vision of something bigger.

A goat's pupil is horizontal in its eye, and expands to become a block, I'm told. I haven't looked intoa goat's eye to see for myself. Focusing left to itself, which is a significant part of biofocusing, will always elucidate, at least.

I'm thinking of what experience has shown me: teaching English to Nama adolescents, who sang songs to me in exchange for goodwill, teaching life to poor white kids who taught me about humility and compassion, teaching intellectual muscle to boys in a prestigious school the focus of which was rugby, teaching poetry, postmodernism and common sense to university students who were baffled by the requirements of intellectual prostitution: I'm free to teach and learn whatever I want, and so is everyone else. So the mainstream of premeditated purpose disappears, and the landscape of requirement (thanks Ridley Beeton) becomes apparent.

The point is, freedom to learn has never been greater. That's an amazing blessing at this stage of human history.

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