Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Welcome my guest blogger!

Hi All,

As noted yesterday, I'm in the midst of final preparation for my dissertation defense this week. So I've invited Melanie Booth, a colleague who also writes a blog for adult students, to write a post for you this week. Below is her post and photo!

I think you will enjoy Melanie's words... I like the way she thinks about teaching and learning... I frequent her blog: http://melaniebooth.wordpress.com/

Also, she is the first person I've heard use the phrase "book crush" which totally cracks me up... I have book crushes, and movie crushes, and definitely music crushes!

Anyway, here is Melanie's post. I'll be back late next week.


Here's Melanie!


Changing Perspective 

Hello readers of The Encouragement Lounge!

Harriet has asked me to be a guest blogger this week, and I am honored to be asked because I might be able to extend the support I lend my own adult learners in my blog to more of you, and that would be neat (for me, at least). Specifically, she asked me to write a post that would offer you encouragement, so I will do my best here. I am not the encouragement pro that she is, but I will give it my best shot.

I thought I would share with you a thinking technique that I re-discovered this past week. I say “re-discovered” because I first stumbled upon this quite accidentally 20+ years ago when I was an undergrad. It was one of the first warm days of spring – one of those days where you just want to sit in the sun and soak up as much Vitamin D as you lost during the winter. I was annoyed at my three roommates for eating my food and listening loudly to music I didn’t like, and I was tired of sitting in my room trying to write a paper that didn’t want to be written but was due the next week.

I loaded up a cardboard box of books and paper and snacks (sustenance for learning is very important – never forget the Fig Newtons!) and I went to a park for the afternoon – by myself (something I would not normally do at the age of 20ish). And it was quite possibly one of the most productive and focused study sessions I have ever had. My mind worked there, in the middle of that redwood park, in ways it had never worked at home or at school before.

 In sum, the technique is this: When I get stuck – either writing something or wrapping my head around something new that I am trying to make sense of – changing my location does wonders for getting unstuck.

If you usually read or write in your house, move outside your house, like to your patio (if the weather allows), or better yet, move to someone else’s patio. This is a great way to meet a neighbor for one thing – “Hey, can I sit on your patio for a few hours today?” – and you won’t be distracted by things that we tend get distracted by our own patios: the lawns we need to mow or the weeds we should pull.

You could also go to a restaurant with your books and articles and computers in tow (either with a quiet partner or by yourself), or to a park that you’ve never been to before. Just go somewhere else, somewhere new, somewhere that will offer you different sights, sounds, smells – a different experience.

This technique sounds really simplistic, I know, but here is why I think this really helps me: when I do this, it changes my perspective, both literally and figuratively. When I do this, I start to see things differently because I am seeing things that are different. When I do this, I put myself and my brain into a different place, a different space, and this allows for different senses and ideas to be at play. I can see connections that I wasn’t able see elsewhere. I feel creative. I get energized, I can breathe, and I can think.

So it may or may not work for you – but I encourage you (how’s that Harriet?) to try it at least once and see if you, too, get a change in your perspective.



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