Identifying the growth points in a failed piece of writing

Recently I posted a piece of writing that wasn’t good. I had various mentors/peers critique it and all of them said I could do better. It was an Austin’s Butterfly moment. When looking at the experience through a metacognitive lens, a few ideas emerge.

  1. Caring about a problem
  2. Lifelong learning and the visible learning process
  3. Dunning-Kruger effect

Caring about a problem
Through the years three areas have impacted my time and thoughts; education, environment, and social movements. These areas have woven together, but mostly have been separate entities vying for attention with one being particularly dominant at a certain time. Long term this has caused imbalance and for a while I lost motivation around all three. While searching for a common thread among them, it appears to be Systems Thinking. This has rekindled a flame and is a topic I want to explore deeper. I want to understand the problems and see if the challenges are what I think they are and find a way I can add value. By being conscious of this process I can feed this back into my teaching as inquiry.

Lifelong learning and the visible learning process
I wrote a post on learning through failure and how we develop strong values around what challenge us. This was in relation to experiential and authentic learning. One object I have battled with throughout my teaching career is the dreaded eraser. For me it symbolises fear and perpetual perfectionism. The amount of times I have said to students ‘Please do not rub out your work. It is evidence of your thinking and I like seeing your process and how your brain works to support you better.’ usually falls on deaf ears. I now have to contend with the delete button as we shift our focus to digital technology. So, I can not delete my previous work as I will go against my kaupapa and the visible learning process, but rather acknowledge it for producing this current thought and consolidating my values. Going through this reflective process, I’ve been thinking how I can better support students to unpack their learning through reflection and will consider exploring single point-rubrics in future writing/posts during my inquiry.

Dunning-Kruger effect
I was fortunate to read Plato’s work in secondary school. What stuck with me most was The Apology which is an account of Socrates speech while on trial for not recognising the gods recognised by the state. He defends himself when being accused of thinking he is wiser than others by saying he is aware of his own ignorance and understands that he knows nothing. This could make him wiser than most because while plenty of people are knowledgeable in specific matters, they claim to be knowledgeable in other matters when clearly they are not which displays ignorance. This is essentially the Dunning-Kruger effect. I consider it all the time. I ask myself if I’m being ignorant/arrogant in my perspective or is it a case of Imposter Syndrome. Whatever the case my inquiry comes from a place of learning and wanting to better my practice to support others in their learning. Hence why I titled this writing ‘Judgey McJudgeface and the perils around systems thinking’, drawing attention to the fact that I’m aware I was being judgemental and do I have a right when like Socrates ‘I know enough to know I know nothing’. However, having over a decade of teaching experience behind me could say I have knowledge on education.

So, reflecting on the original piece of writing I see three threads to explore:

  • Definition of Systems Thinking
  • Systems Thinking for social impact in education
  • Changing models in education for greater social impact

With more research I will share learning in future posts. However, this is subject to change due to the nature of inquiry.


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