It’s been a while …

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As for everyone I know, 2015 has personally been a period of intense growth and challenge.

The year’s passage has seen me blessed with rich opportunities to develop and extend myself personally and professionally, surrounded by incredible people who have come into my life to facilitate and support this process.

I have had my ‘shoulder to the wheel’ for a great part of the year as I negotiated entry into teaching at Monash University; new projects at my beloved Sandybeach Centre; greater participation in my professional networks across the globe, and attending to my too often ignored PhD research and writing.

I can say with gratitude that I have survived, and am now blessed to be back at Tootgarook on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula for a time of regeneration.

In the company of my precious family and friends I get to breathe again … to inhale the beauty of this time and place, and to reflect on a way forward that honours and builds on all that has come before. I get to imagine and set into place the enactment of each day’s learning that urges me to live more authentically, to connect more deeply with my world … to live each moment in love.

At this sacred time of year across so many cultures, I have this morning became aware of Disturbed’s haunting cover version of Simon and Garfunkle’s ‘Sounds of Silence’. It resonates deeply with the silent space of solitude in which I currently rest, as I await the collaborative, joyful celebration of the love of my family and friends.

I am reminded however, that our family have infinite choices about how and where we spend our time together, how we celebrate our love for and commitment to each other.

This is not the reality for too many of our global family. Too many live in unimaginable deprivation of freedom. Too many struggle to survive emotionally and financially each day. Through no fault of their own, too many are being unlawfully detained and are being denied their basic human rights.

So as I give thanks for the love, joy and abundance of my own life, I reflect on the words of Martin Luther King Jnr as they intersect with this haunting song. As I celebrate the gift of love and life with my family and friends, I consider the gift of people like Martin Luther who had the courage to speak up and speak out in the deafening silence … and consider how I might find that courage in myself.

My love to you and yours as you celebrate.

 

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Martin Luther King Jnr.

 

Invitation to participate in a PhD research study

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Startup Stock PhotosMy PhD research project is finally ready to start collecting data from teachers in the VET sector! This might not relate to you, but feel free to pass it on to someone you think might be interested …

Have you completed a Vocational Education and Training (VET) teaching diploma program any time since 2006? This might include:

  • 21697VIC Diploma of Vocational Education and Training Practice
  • TAA50104 Diploma of Training and Assessment
  • TAE50111 Diploma of Vocational Education and Training
  • TAE50211 Diploma of Training Design and Development

Did undertaking this contribute in any way to a transformed perspective of yourself as a learner, of learning more broadly, or to changes in your learning and teaching practice?

My name is Jennifer Miles and I am conducting a research project towards a PhD in Education at Monash University. I am seeking participants who are interested in contributing to a study that will explore the ways in which undertaking a VET diploma program (teaching) encouraged them to reflect on their identity as a learner and as a teacher, and to consider any consequent transformed perspectives on learning and teaching practice that emerged during or since undertaking the diploma.

The study involves two levels of participation, and you can choose one or both. You might decide just to complete the online survey, or to also participate in the in-depth interview process.

If you are interested, please follow the link and read the Explanatory Statement for full details, and at the end if this you will be asked if you wish to proceed with the survey

http://monasheducation.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_cwnbmtcoynsnoGx

If you know of someone else who might be interested, please pass the message and link on to them. Thank you for your consideration!

Time to breathe …

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I get to breathe again …

My favourite time of the year, when the crazy treadmill of working to foster transformative learning spaces within the business-focussed world of education ceases to exist. The government funding and subsequent organisational delivery constraints, student issues and tremendous achievements, ongoing stresses and chaos fade into the background, and I get to sink into the glorious delights of living beachside on the Mornington Peninsula with my beautiful boys.

Only a month ago, my first-born joined in marriage with his gorgeous wife, and they now step into the next stage of their lives together. There could be no better opportunity for them to consolidate their commitment to each other than coming here to the beach, where a bath in the sea greets each day before breakfast, new adventures are planned daily and implemented with joyful fun and celebration, and deeply philosophical conversations about life and living are had across generations of diverse souls. What an incredible space to reflect on the way forward.

As my first day in paradise closes, this eve before Christmas, the day before my family and friends come to join me, I look across Port Philip Bay to Mount Martha, and the houses on the hill are reflecting the setting sun. They look like mirrors in a mosaic, twinkling farewell to the sun as it departs for the day. Gulls are sitting quietly on the sandbanks exposed by the receding tide, only occasionally disturbed by one in their community puffing their chest and squawking for full attention. The Spirit of Tasmania steams out of the Heads, taking many to loved ones across the seas of Bass Straight.

I am humbled and deeply appreciative of the time I am able to spend here in our simple seaside holiday, when so many across our world are struggling just to survive in the midst of oppressive environments and circumstances. This holiday promises much, with the space it provides to relax and breathe into myself, to lay out the complexities and possibilities that have accumulated throughout the year now gone, and to find the truth and authenticity that will nurture and guide the year ahead.

As we each step into the celebrations across cultures that this year brings, may I send you my blessings for a time of reflection and regeneration, both for yourself and for your family. May this time provide you with the space to breathe and step into life mindfully and may you be blessed with time to touch and heed the voice of your soul as it whispers its truths to you.

In love and light,

Jenni