Relationships are all there are

22 November 2010 · 5 comments

in General Commentary

“Relationships are all there are. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone.”
Margaret Wheatley

This quote came to my attention through participating in the Marketing Profs Forum. This is a helpful place to go and ask advice about all aspects of marketing and I’m indebted to the “marketing experts” for their time answering my mundane questions. It’s more than learning about flogging one’s services and getting people to love your product. The contributors have a strong sense of community and understand that if we all support each other, everyone is nourished and grows.

For a long time now, I have strongly advocated looking at learning happening in terms of relationships between the variables of people, place and activity in the context of time:

The model upon which this is based, was suggested by Sir Patrick Geddes (1854-1932), an eminent Scottish biologist who was renowned for his innovative thinking in town planning and education. My addition is the time element. All this takes place in different time frameworks and an awareness of this helps everyone make the most of any given situation. For example, spending time outside looking at colours in winter is a very different experience, six months later at the height of summer. A fifteen-year old will see a different potential and purpose to walking down a street, than a toddler.

For many years, within mainstream education sectors, the element of place has been, at best, marginalised. There has been huge focus on people and activities. For example in Scotland, the Assessment is for Learning initiative has had a significant positive impact on the quality of activities that are taking place and the interactions between teachers and learners. However a three-legged stool will always be more tricky to sit on, if any one of the legs is missing. By thinking about where learning takes place and how to make best use of the physical context we can ensure learning is more holistic and balanced.

The Tetravon particle accelerator ring has a 4 mile circumference. 48 000 protons and anti-protons travel almost at the speed of light around this ring.
In some ways this is already happening. There are teachers taking children down the digital rabbit hole daily and using “cyberspace” or the Internet to recreate the concept of place as never before. This thought really struck home when I visited Fermilab, the US home of particle and energy matter research. It was at the sister organisation in Switzerland, Cerne, that the origins of the world wide web as we know it began. The Internet is our equivalent of subatomic space. What we want, is for these teachers and children to be able to pop out of the rabbit hole for a real breath of fresh air outside on a regular basis too. We need to experience real life situations as well as have a Second Life!

Sherri from Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning came to Scotland in July so we were able to meet up!
2010 has been an unusual year for me. For the first time, I’ve had the opportunity to meet people that I’ve only known via online communities such as blogs (see the links in the left hand sidebar), Facebook and Twitter. I’ve been delighted to find that these people are decent, moral, upstanding citizens. In fact they are all educators, keen to play their part in improving education for the better and making the world a more interesting and engaging place for children in their care.

This week I was genuinely touched in that two parent bloggers very kindly gave me a Versatile Bloggers Award. The Internet, like any other place relies on the forging of relationships to make it sing, dance and become alive. I’d like to thank Abbie from Greening Sam and Avery and Amy from Child Central Station for their generosity who are demonstrating another fine example of relationships being all there are…

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

den November 22, 2010 at 19:25

Very hearten to have come across your blog.
Keep up good work.


Teacher Tom November 23, 2010 at 00:53

There are a lot of people ready to trash the online world as a soulless, superficial place, and sometimes it is, but like you I’ve also found it a real place, full of real people who I would never have gotten to know otherwise.

I’ve found myself staying away from the parts of the internet where anonymity is the rule — it brings out the worst in people. Those are the back allies, I suppose. But here in the light of blogging, FB and other venues it’s empowering to find that most of the people, most of the time, are ones I’d like to know better.

You’re one of those, Juliet, I’m sure sorry we missed one another. Next time!


jenny November 24, 2010 at 20:48

I loved reading this post Juliet, and can second all that Tom wrote.


Sherry and Donna November 26, 2010 at 06:50

Hi Juliet, what a surprise to scroll down and see myself on your blog! I totally agree with you – Donna and my lives have become way more enriched this past year through our interactions with the blogging community!

Love Sherry


Sherry and Donna November 29, 2010 at 07:35

Juliet this is a lovely post and Sherry and I are thrilled to have connected up with you through blogging! … and that photo of Sherry has really made my day … HYSTERICAL hahahahahahah!
Donna 🙂 🙂


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