jueves, febrero 23, 2006

Oral history, truth, consequence… and a request for Japan to be denied a seat on the UN Security Council 

Witnessing the stories of elders who in their youth were sexually abused was tender, cathartic and consequential. It confirms my belief that one must denounce violence… and that is the most significant act of liberation. It is difficult to have the strength and the balance to revisit pain, but these women did, these wise elders…

Yesterday I listened to a program at Westfield State College, and I watched, while quietly meditating about what they were saying, and the meaning of their act of describing the abuse bestowed to them by the military: “Former "Comfort Women" Demand Justice: Survivors of sexual slavery under the Japanese military from 1932-1945”

A very tender group of women lead the activity in a full banquet room with the presence of the College’s President who was there without any noticeable hurry. She was carefully hearing and supporting the speakers. I was impressed by a short video produced for the campaign and shown in five gigantic screens.

Short introductions from leaders lead to the genuine accounts from two women. They spoke about being held captive at a young age and exploited sexually. The power of their disclosure over silence and denial was both evident and painful. And I wondered about the purpose and consequence of their process. Here were two elders who survived brutal sexual attacks at a tender early age. Their vulnerability and questioning about the reason for their abuse was deeply moving. There is no sense to violence and we are each responsible to act whenever we witness it.

At the end of the activity, one of the speakers came close to me, and in our interchange added, “I love you”… I smiled and gave her a hug… telling her the same. They are a few of the survivors from about 200,000 women who where brutally captive by the Japanese forces in Korea as sexual slaves.

The Korean Council has been demanding the Japanese government the following:
1. to admit the crime of sexual slavery for the Japanese Army
2. to investigate the crimes of military sexual slavery
3. to make an official apology
4. to pay legal reparation to the victims
5. to punish those who are responsible for the crime
6. to build a memorial museum
7. to correctly record in the Japanese history textbooks.

The roles of women in sexual slavery, and in the sex industry are two completely different issues -mostly related to choice. We must carefully focus on this event and how it is resolved to capture the tendency to deny civilization the wisdom from history.

Resources for learning activities are available at:


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domingo, febrero 19, 2006

An ethnography of a book... Is that possible? 

I found this old book, that brought up many memories. Back then, procastination and writers block would get in the way of getting the dissertation done. And an acquaintance, those you meet in workshops whose company you swear will last forever recommended my reading a book about a woman's diary.... "Ella Price's Journal". Being into theory and not really fiction I hesitantly jotted the title and eventually got and read the book. And now many years later get it back in my hands. Amazing!

Reading about the consciousness raising of a middle class housewife in the Bay Area during the 60's is ok. What is significant is how by consistent writing you mobilize the stream of consiousness into that.... working through a writer's block. And ever since that conversation with my newly found friend about writing about blocks, and reading what became a book for Dorothy Bryant I find journals to be productive tools.

And for fun I will copy here one of her first entries which were suggestions for journal writing from an English class that required it:

Suggestions for people who need priming
  1. Your honest reaction to something that happened in class.
  2. Your reaction to something you read.
  3. A quotation- copy it and comment on it.
  4. A problem you are struggling with.
  5. A new word. Copy a definition from a big dictionary. Try some sentences using the word.
  6. Description of an interesting sight or incident.
  7. Suggestions for improving the college.
  8. A summary of something you read.
  9. A mistake or failure from which you learned something.
  10. An idea you disagree with--tell why.
  11. A question you can't or won't ask in class--leave room and I'll try to answer it.
  12. A dream.
  13. A favorite fantasy.
  14. A description of a person.
  15. An important experience.
  16. When all else fails, a bit of your autobiography.

Bryant, D. (1972) Ella Price's Journal, Signet: N.Y.

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miércoles, febrero 15, 2006

Indeed Daring ! 

We winged it!

And nothing like pictures to deepen a description.

Social Presence in New Places indeed. What a trio... Garcia, Suzuki, and Molero an amazing combination. yes, daring!

We joined a handful of people in Israel early in the morning for me (3 am to start with) for a second presentation at 6 am. By then we were wild with having been booted out of the platform, and needing to find a different way to enter each time, which of course required yet a new password. Looking back a the experience, it is amazing that we managed to show some interaction.

Alot was behind the scenes. The pictures sent to me by Doris show a totally different view. And seeing them I realize that the three of us were sending messages to participants trying to make up for the lack of a text chat area which is so central to the message we wanted to convey... (we ARE daring !) that when we get toguether from all over the world are times for interaction... yes, I heard it refered to as "conversation" in monologues-- hugh??? (conversation, the newest buzzword!) We call it DOODLE... and doodle we did!

And we TRIED to make up for our niftie map in which each person places a mark indicating where they are from... well, well... all we could do this time was a survey. And that took some doing since only 5 options were allowed... notice the options: Africa/Middle East, Europe, The Americas, Australia and Far East

Fortunately Renata & Doris were finding the participants' locations and we learned some where in Trinidad Tobago (of course I immediately gave a Caribbean greeting) and others identified as being from Turkey, Canada.

That we managed to show interaction,,, was the last I heard in the audio from one of the hosts as we finished. In "essence" would say we reached a Grand Finale.

Thanks Renata and Doris!

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lunes, febrero 13, 2006

Encounter,feedback,and disclosure in communicating. 

Click here for the diagram's source.

While getting ready to present with Renata Suzuki Threads of Reflection: Teacher Blogs in Action at the Mofet Institute's virtual conference:
"Opening Gates in Teacher Education, 2006
Meeting the Challenges in Education and Teaching"
Feb. 13-15, 2006
I've been thinking about this blog as a place for disclosure and feedback. And I immediately gravitate back to my years of experiences with T-groups, (sensitivity training and encounter groups) and studies about human communication.

In thinking about useful models to show how interaction is possible through blogs and other online tools, the concept of "Johari window" comes to mind. It is great to re-visit a simple model that conveys so clearly the impact that disclosure and feedback has in communication. The picture included here serves to examine the potential that posts (disclosure) and comments (feedback) have in increasing public knowledge.

Thinking about blogs as interactive spaces is exciting. Lately through rss feeds and blogrolls new connections appear. I was delighted to notice a comment on the post below from Dan who on his blog Unfoldingleadership considers many of the issues about communication deserving discussion.

I am curious to see how interactive these tools could become as a source for reflection about my "practice" as well as receptacles for feedback and encounter.

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domingo, febrero 05, 2006

It is very interesting to convey experientially what is being said in theory. 

I am reviewing the learning experience that we had last year for 13 weeks at the Learning Times virtual classroom. Some webheads joined a group of teachers in Venezuela who under Doris’ tutelage explored the technology of the Illuminate software and the curriculum of “The Learning Classroom”.

Not only is the concept of presence and interaction crucial for the style of online teaching that we are now familiar with, but in practice to follow an ideology of participation and “construction” of knowledge… (or is it constructivism?). The interesting common thread is the exploration. It is amazing to join strangers in new environments and be able to convey the hope to reach the platforms’ potential for spontaneous and hands on exploration. So far the platform allows for some limited sense of participation and we might be able to convey some level of dynamism.

In addition to the platform and the content, the procedure also follows a dominant ideology. So the fact that we are able to have access to the full features of the platform itself is fortunate. Initially, the expectation was for us to “lecture” about our participatory and interactive experience.
It remains to be fully addressed the extent to which order and “civility” is a function of culture, and how the emergence of a virtual culture is seen evidenced. This experience is definitely illuminating!

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sábado, febrero 04, 2006

International Virtual Conference for Teacher Educators - 2006 

the schedule is getting close to final and hopefully we will be there at the correct time. It keeps being a challenge to figure out the time around the world. And even though it is clear that using GMT for time as the common referrent is a must, it gets confusing to figure out details once we look at new directions in the world and at new environments.

It is exciting to experience the limitations of new virtual environments and to creatively patch uo the options. We will be using Interwise as the interactive platform and it is fun to think about dion doodles as a means to maintain an interactive /participatory approach. DARE TO DOODLE© !!!! The learning curve remains steep... that of communicating, period. While influencing, and explaining is draining at times, the reaching to new groups is exciting.

The link here goes to the conference program. On February 15th I will be presenting with Renata and Doris our work on blended environments and blogs for reflection.

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viernes, febrero 03, 2006

Autono Blogger 

I just left a comment at Marco Polo's blog and since the "blog this" option is open decided to advance the reflection which the entry instigated. I am mostly focusing on the inpact that "communication technologies" have in the discovery, creation and advancement of knowledge. Not only is the online environment evolving in its infinity, but patterns are being formed in the sophistication of its production.

That is to say, like any media that there is the contribution of seminal concepts, the repetition of old stuff with new words presented as new and owned when in fact its origin lacks and gets lost in our quick use of links. We must fully acknowledge sources. Now, the question is.... how are blogs cited and will they ever become respected sources for reputable publications?

So when he states:

"Exactly what this impact is, however, I'm not clear about. I want to talk to people around me about it, but nobody seems to know what I'm talking about..."

I would have to join in the wonder because we will never know---- e-x-a-c-t-l-y !

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miércoles, febrero 01, 2006

Reading about virtual communities and getting ready to write.... 

realizing that the gradation in levels of privacy online may have an impact on the strength of relationships formed. Notice the use of the word "strength" and how figurative it is in virtuality.... can that be non-physical? And essentially the openness of this medium (this blog) for anyone's access has an impact on my choice of words. Then of course the means of communication (text or voice) further come into the equation. So no, I have not gotten into podcasting yet although it would be interesting to see (hear that is) how the message varies.... and in terms of text, as it is here, how in a learning container -behind the walls of a password, the "reflection" would deepen. The bottomline is.... should I be vulnerable infront of strangers? and for whose benefit? (Why bother?)

So in this "open channel" of communication with friendly visits from those who leave their comments we model the hope of making a great big link of beings trusting and challenging each other to learn and transcend.... in the abstract.... and in the wide open.

So this is an invitation for you to participate in this conversation. I am curious, what would move you to add a comment?

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