When these articles were assigned, I was in Haiti. I tried reading them over and over again, but being in that context, reading these articles was over my head. I picked them up again this week and though they are still over my head, I was able to find some things that are important.
This idea of “practice centered learning” is foreign to me, but I think that it’s important. Learning that doesn’t involve practice is pointless. To learn for the sake of learning without actually having your learning effect every area of not only your life, but also the world around you is pointless. As someone who loves to learn new things and be challenged, if my learning doesn’t cause me to change and change the things around me, then what value does it have? What’s the point?
There are three features of practice centered learning that are worth thinking about as I go about in pastoral ministry. Ramsey says, “Practice centered learning involves the physical… [is] generative… and [is] spontaneous…” (Management Learning 4)
First, “Practice centered learning involves the physical; it is not a learning that just goes inside the head, so to speak, apparent only in knowledge, understanding or attitudes but is seen more in actions.” (Management Learning 4) This is such an important point. Learning has to unfold into action. Is it safe to say that you haven’t really learned anything if it doesn’t manifest in action?
Second, “these actions are generative; they make the world rather than express it in some way.” (Management Learning 4) –I’m not really sure how to unfold this one… Can someone please break it down for me?
Third, “these actions are frequently spontaneous rather than the result of some form of premeditation.” (Management Learning 5) In our online chat on March 16 Caroline said, “Leadership is not to do with individual capacity. Leadership is a moment in a conversation, in a relationship as ideas of direction, sharing and commitment grow.” Learning opportunities, leadership opportunities and opportunities to influence happen over a cup of coffee in the afternoon when you least expected… if you’re open to it. It’s not planned, it’s spontaneous… this is how you know that you’ve learned something… when you can live it out in a spontaneous way.
Ramsey wraps up practice central learning by saying, “the role of context is central in all the contributions to the discussion on practice above… a key question: how is context to be apprehended?” (Management Learning 5) So, when all is said and done, context is everything. Even though I’ve been serving in the Korean community for over a decade, there are still a lot of tings that I don’t understand. There are a lot of times that I clash with people because the context in which we grew up is soo different… my context has influenced my decision making in the same way that their interpretation of things was influenced by their context…. Sometimes will be in a meeting and they will try to explain to me why I should do things a certain way… after hours of not understanding, they will give up and say, “It’s ok! You do it your way… you’re white, that’s why you don’t understand.” I usually smile and say, “I am! Thanks for understanding!” We move on from there, understanding that sometime our contexts keep us from fully understanding what the other person is saying. In a good relationship we come to a point where we can say, “It’s ok! You’re not like me, you do it differently, and that’s ok!” Understanding our present context and past context can help us interact with people, and develop healthier relationships. I think.