Friday, January 30, 2004

Blogging from the bach

Wine glass full (Gisborne Chardonnay) and fresh garden salad open. I am at Auckland airport, at the bach café.

Bach . n. colloquial New Zealand term referring to secondary abode/beach house/temporary escape/sanctuary/

It has been an excellent week with the Church and Society class. However, 3 days lecturing 4 hours a day, and I am stuffed. Glad to be coming home.

Owen Marshall’s South Island Prayer
Don’t let me die in Auckland
Rotting in the heat before your
eyes are closed: a greasy take
away after the soul is gone.
Jesus, no.

Let me go with the old Southerly
Buster: river stones in the grey
flecked sky and that white wind
to keep your chin up.
Christ, yes

From Spirit in a Strange Land: A Selection of New Zealand Spiritual Verse, edited by Paul Morris, Harry Ricketts and Mike Grimshaw..

The last hour of class today we went to Borders.
1. To explore Borders as a contemporary shopping experience – the creation of ways for people to interact, the multiplicity of choice, the democratisation of information – and its implications for both church and society.

2. For coffee, and to give space for students to interact with me in a different setting. Increasingly I am convinced that it is around informal settings that students really process material and that my task as lecturer is to both give material to process and create spaces for that processing to happen. Again today, as in my lectures last year, café space allowed far deeper learning and interaction to occur.

Posted by steve at 10:07 PM


  1. on yr recommendation I picked up a bottle from the Marlborough region the other day. Looking forward to it! Have a good weekend.

    Comment by maggi — January 31, 2004 @ 3:34 am

  2. I agree that “space” and informal settings encourage deeper learning and interaction. When things go well you can create something of that in a classroom, but the café environment does make it so much easier!

    (Perhaps all teachers should have an entertainment allowance 😉 – does PW read this blog?

    Comment by Tim — January 31, 2004 @ 6:57 am

  3. Your so right. I remember my college days when we used to go down the pub with lecturers and sit around and chat over a beer (v. british I know). It was in these times that we all relaxed and appreciated what the lecturer was trying to teach us, I really gained a new respect for my lecturers, that they were not people to debate and argue with but rather people to journey with who are just a little farther down the road in certain ways.

    Comment by gareth — January 31, 2004 @ 11:36 am

  4. Mate, sounds wonderful (the wine and the course). I hope you tod Maggi to get a Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough 🙂 Off to drink a “Taylors” chardonnay in your honor. Thanks for introducing me… 🙂

    Comment by Paul — January 31, 2004 @ 7:11 pm

  5. yes, Paul, a Sauvignon blanc! Haven’t drunk it yet. I completely agree about the different teaching/learning spaces – you need intense, formal, and informal, and definitely eating and drinking together. Bit like church, really. It’s also true that I learn at least as much as the students – OK, so I’m imparting the lion’s share of the information, but they add to it, take it in different directions, bring different and youthful questions to it, keep me thinking and growing. “To teach is to learn twice” – Joseph Joubert

    Comment by maggi — January 31, 2004 @ 8:33 pm

  6. definitely maggi – teaching is such a gift to the teacher – my church and society class on friday really pushed a book chapter i am working on around – and there questions, grumps, connections were so helpful. i now understand why people dedicate books to classes.

    Comment by steve — January 31, 2004 @ 10:04 pm

  7. I had a particular lecturer when I was doing my BD who would write students’ questions down in the margins of his lecture notes and then often answer them a few lectures later. (He’d often say later, “Which brings us to the question that asked a week or so back…”) The questions were then incorporated into his lecture notes.

    I found it encouraging to know that 1) he listened to me, 2) he valued me and my questions enough to spend time out of class answering it and 3) I was part of the ongoing interaction with and development of the material (8th Century Prophets, I think).

    I like Maggi’s comment too about different learning environments and settings – not everyone learns the same way but relationality and rapport help.

    Comment by Stephen — February 1, 2004 @ 8:59 pm

  8. the biggest pity is that Borders is such a bad model if you’re concerned about justice, muliplicity and diversity or the local and the specific. I won’t bleat on about Borders’ purchasing policies nor about the impact of Borders on small business and local community but whatever Borders might be it is hardly the kind of organic, local, just community i’m looking for to nourish my spirit

    Comment by jez — February 6, 2004 @ 5:46 pm

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