Learning Subjectives, Self-Definition, and Listening

This post is a response to one of the questions Dave Cormier posted about “learning subjectives” (did he coin this?) for Week 1 of #Rhizo15:

What can we get done with subjectives that can’t be done with objectives?

The phrase “learning subjectives” immediately propels me into polarities: “subjectives” would not be objectives. As such, they would not quantifiably measurable, nor outcome-driven, and performance would not be keyed to them. Instead, they might be personal, not bound by chronos time, open to serendipity and to idiosyncratic or flexible intentions.

I have often defined myself in terms of how I differed from the norm: left-handed, vegetarian for half my life, atypical in religion. And yet in recent years, my eyes have been opened to how much I live within privilege: white, never truly hungry, educated in thought-provoking seminars. Being shaped by these characteristics affords me many choices, but also carries assumptions that I may still be too blind to question.

My own pursuit of “learning subjectives” takes place against the backdrop of long-held perceptions of “the way things are”. I am delighted by opportunities for creative or radical “aha” moments to happen within the bounds of traditional education. In the absence of clear opportunities to foster such experiences, I will seek out and hold up examples of alternative approaches that inspire me. Some of this seeking grows out of reactions to the norm, wanting something different, and not always knowing where to find it other than in polarity to what dissatisfies me.

I think I really have more to learn from others whose circumstances and questions are different from my own. My own subjectivity needs a healthy dose of listening. Conversation, anyone?


6 responses to “Learning Subjectives, Self-Definition, and Listening

  1. I don’t know where i got the idea from… but that doesn’t mean i didn’t steal it 🙂

    I think privilege is a quite valuable addition to the discussion on subjectives. It’s a big part, i think, of what makes all learning a ‘start in the middle’ process. We come to the learning process with identities that have huge influences on what we can/want to learn.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not sure we have anything in common. Just getting to know you – absolutely open to talking together. Come sit by the campfire! @hj_dewaard

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this Lisa – for bringing up privilege (or what i often call semi-privilege) and listening

    I am left-handed too and we are this non-disabled minority in many ways, right? World isn’t designed for us and it allows us to be empathetic to more serious disability i think. Kind of 🙂

    Funny u mentioned blindness coz there is a post in my head around that topic. Dunno if i will be able to write it today tho

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Lisa

    I’m also left handed, and vegetarian. Still very privileged though. This last year has made me reflect a lot about the pervasiveness of anglo-american culture …

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, Sarah. #FergusonSyllabus has informed a lot of my thinking, and keeps working on me.


  6. I think I really have more to learn from others whose circumstances and questions are different from my own. My own subjectivity needs a healthy dose of listening. I do have the privilege of working with refugees from all over the world. They do question normality and their questions and stories do teach me a lot. I am glad I did step out of my daily routines and got to know them.

    Liked by 1 person

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