March 27, 2005

Looking for signs of life

I added Ming the Mechanic to my blogroll the minute I first encountered his blog. Recently he posted, asking where's the news? which finished, I'm just looking for Signs of Life: For a while I figured I would change my business card to read something like this:
Flemming Funch
Looking for signs of life


My partner in crime and I have been casting around for a) a mission statement, or "what are we all about really as teachers?", and
b) a modus operandi, or "how do we put in practice what we're about?"

For a) we decided (after discovering MI) that diversity (and encouraging diversity) was one of the key things we were about, and that made sense,too, given that we are EFL teachers in a foreign land. As we interpret it, that means that, as well as teaching the English language (indeed an aspect of teaching the language) we need to be exposing our students to the ideas and ways of thinking which form part and parcel of our language, perhaps particularly focussing on those which are different from those bound up with the Japanese language at this point in time.
Exposing students to differences is one aim; another (or sub-) aim is to encourage acceptance of these differences, to help them see the value in diversity and to appreciate it.
We wander somewhat in our understanding of this, or rather in how to actually put it into practice. Sometimes we favour being different and wacky just for its own sake, for its shock value, although I tend to wish for an overarching purpose.

This is all by way of being an intro to this inspiring little quote:

I'm interested in the stuff that's different and alive with energy. The people who start a green hair culture when everybody else thinks one has to have black hair. The people who think up something entirely different that actually works. The people who feel a different beat and who actually dance to it. I'm interested in patterns that hadn't been noticed before. And the meeting of different patterns. Life is diverse.
There's something free about life, so I'm looking for freedom. People who manage to tap into something fundamental, but yet express it in ways that aren't restrained by old patterns of thinking or unnecessary norms for behavior. Changing the rules. Exploring your range of motion.
And then I'm interested in how it all fits together. Ecosystems are diverse and synergetic. Diversity is life. Monoculture is death. But it is not that simple. It is not enough to just make things different. It is not enough to just break the rules. The magic is in the synergy. How different things work together, and support each other, in sometimes surprising ways. Finding patterns that make diversity work. Self-regenerating systems that thrive on diversified experimentation. Autopoiesis. Self-creation. Life.

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