Saturday, October 12, 2013

a happening place, a bouncing and imaginative place

Alongside yesterday’s press release, here is another interesting perspective on life at Uniting College, placed online recently by one of my teaching colleagues, Rosemary Dewerse.

Try hanging out at my workplace sometime! It’s a happening place. Lots of people imagining all kinds of things. My students are part of that. Have just marked an assignment where a student was asked to dream of a church that is committed to being intercultural. Damien Tann :-) wrote his as a series of emails to an about-to-arrive pastor. I laughed and was impressed by turns. (And it is WEIRD to read oneself being quoted – will take a while to get used to that!) I’ve been warned by another student in that class that she is writing a children’s book…Another student wrote for a unit called ‘Mission Then Mission Now’ a narrative weaving with its strands being an analysis of the early Celtic Christian church, the Uniting Church in Australia today, and a middle strand of the commonalities. Peter Sorensen did an impressive job of comparing and contrasting the big challenges and bold responses of each to their contexts. And you had to read the woven text…Last semester Maxine Moore did an exegesis of her neighbourhood for the unit ‘Reading Cultures’, ready to respond missionally to it by QUILTING it! Very cool. Meanwhile Phil Smith produced a radio documentary of his local patch, pulling out metaphors for analysis that were offered by the local grocer and teenagers. :-) And Matthew Barker did a short film. (He’s told me he’s writing a play for his next one – as did Damien for his last!) I’ve already mentioned a postgrad student of mine, Maree Aldridge who is an artist extraordinaire. Actually, I have another artist student working on a piece for his upcoming assignment…I love it when students don’t just stick to the essay option (not that that is a bad one!)

That constant thread of creativity, of honouring the life experiences and gifts that students bring with them into the learning experience. This is not a tabla rusa model of education, in which people are treated as blank slates on which new content will be dumped. Rather there is integration, in which new learnings are being woven back into lives and contexts. In other words, the pre-existing “quilter” is evolving, new quilts are made possible, out of blend of what was, what is and dream of what might be.

For the full post, including a reflection on a “bouncing” and “imaginative” Principal, go here. Rosemary’s blog, with her involvement around Australia and New Zealand, is itself a rich window into a happening, bouncing, imaginative life.

Posted by steve at 11:03 AM

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