The sunflowers have spouted! It was a long trip back from New York: up to the airport at 5AM, the seven hour flight then a two hour wait for the coach and a three hour drive home. As i arrived, wheeling my bag up the driveway, i headed not for the front door, but for the greenhouse. Before i left, i’d planted out a dozen sunflower seeds and the prognosis was far from clear: a week without water and my notoriously un-green-fingered ministrations. But there they were, twelve tiny shoots poking out of the twelve black plastic pots. Each one pushing strongly forward towards the light. Success.
There’s something satisfying about coming home: travelling is great, but it’s only when we get home that we make sense of the trip (which is why i’ve dedicated the last two days to writing my reflections and building a narrative about it). I probably travel around a third of my time, so time at home is valuable and valued.
Learning is about balance: it’s about disturbance, loss and homecoming.
We have to create disturbance to learn: be that curiosity or compelling reason, it’s what moves us into a place where we can change. Creating the right amount of disturbance in learning design is important: too much as we disconnect from it, to little and we don’t change. There needs to be some sight of home, of the familiar.
To learn we often have to lose things: notions that we hold dear, knowledge that is outdated. Our own ignorance or innocence. It’s not always about comfort, about security.
I love to travel, be that travel to new places or to new ideas and thinking, but it can be a difficult and lonely business. Whilst we may be welcomed into new communities, we are still strangers: it takes time to build relationships, to establish commonality and shared purpose, to integrate and unite. These days, we remain connected to our social communities as we travel: even in New York i was able to blog, to connect and to continue conversations, but i wasn’t at home.
This sense of connection and disconnection is important: we have to choreograph our learning journeys to include both travel and homecoming. There need to be spaces where we come back to the familiar to enable us to share out stories, to narrate our learning so far and to co-create a route map to help others follow the journey.