Blog as Field Notes

This fall, I’m setting out to use my blog more intentionally. I want to use it to aid in creating my path beyond graduate school. I am not the only one who has talked about the impact of doctoral studies on one’s life. What I would like to do is recreate my own learning style. Part of the training of a doctoral program is in the discourse of academia. It’s a very structured world. For all the public perception of universities as hotbeds of intellectual freedom, I found the invisible structure to more resemble silos and /or the fierce staking-out of turf.  And, part of my training as a researcher was in absorbing the most valued ways of learning, researching, and communicating. These weren’t, and aren’t, natural to my personal ways of exploring and satisfying my curiosities, i.e., research.

As a freshly minted Doctor of Education, what’s a girl to do?

One of the things this Doctor will be working on is some of the traditional academic writing I find so challenging. And, as I do, I am interested in using my blog for a very personal journey– to Integrate the institutionalized methods of thinking and researching into the personal way I engage the world as a learner.

I want to treat my blog as a field notebook on this journey, a field notebook of observations of my thinking and learning. Writing is very much a way for me to process how I learn. Writing also serves to slow down my thinking. It forces me to tease out the immediate intuitive connections I make between ideas and articulate what I see, think, question, imagine. I hope that I’ll also use this blog to challenge  myself to argue for (or against) those connections. fieldnotes

I learn through story. I don’t learn facts out of the context of a story. Does anyone, really? I believe the deepest learning, the most authentic is done for deeply personal and sometimes private reasons. How we make sense of the world . I do it by writing. Thinking. Writing. All of this while being actively engaged in the day to day world. There’s the thinking world, and the physical world. Here’s where I want to work on bringing the worlds into closer proximity.

My greatest wish is that this blog, this field notebook,  would also be a contribution. I don’t know how many educators read journal articles. But maybe the personal discussion form of field notes will be of interest– maybe there will be a way some of my thinking about teaching English in the new age will spark the thoughts of an educator who can’t have access to articles or conferences, who feels alone in his or her department, or may be is just hungry for something he or she can’t name.\

The old ways are not enough any more. But it’s also not enough to refuse them & do nothing.

 The academic world in many ways seems to be about certainty. Theorizing, experimenting, then claiming a position and arguing for it. I don’t think we can be certain of very much these days– I also don’t think all the answers will come from the traditional academic places. From where I sit, the byways of blogs and Twitter are some of the spaces and methods that  can bring some of us together. To talk, to challenge, to build something out here in the margins. I hope to see you here.

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