Irmeli Aro #moodleMOOCs throughout the Summer 2013

CCK08 Recovering from a writer’s block

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“Writer’s block, we might say, occurs when the authorial ear – that inner voice of ours that brings forth words – is stopped or jammed. Something is needed to help that voice begin speaking again.” Montgomery (2003, 31-33) suggests e.g. the following practical methods.

1) Read older literature in your field – let’s say from 100 years ago

“Learning is best conceived as a process, not in terms of outcomes. To improve learning in higher education, the primary focus should be on engaging students in a process that best enhances their learning – a process that includes feedback on the effectiveness of their learning efforts. …education must be conceived as a continuing reconstruction of experience: … the process and goal of education are one and the same thing.” (Dewey 1897, 79) (Kolb & Kolb 2008, 4)

2) Read through selected passages on topics as similar to your own as you can find

I’m finding my passage out of the writer’s block by reading, reflecting and pruning: Naive Metaphysics, A Theory of subjective and objective Worlds (Klempner 1994, 7): “We have been seeking a way in which each of us can grasp our relation to the world as a whole; and we have discovered that neither the subjective nor the objective standpoint alone is adequate. Each standpoint misses out something that only the other can supply. Now the first, most natural response to this difficulty is to try to locate the common ground, to work out a compromise between the two standpoints. This might seem easy. If I wish to tell the whole truth about my relation to the world, then why not simply combine together the two standpoints, in the way that a novelist might tell a story, first from the point of view of the main protagonist, and then from the imaginary point of view of an all-seeing observer? Surely, once that is done, there is no further story to tell?

On closer examination, however, this analogy appears fatally flawed. In the novel, the full story is the one which would result if the novelist granted the all-seeing observer access to each character’s thoughts and feelings. The objective standpoint from which no-one is picked out for special treatment does indeed give the whole truth. The crucial difference between the novel and the account of my relation to the world is that in my case one of the characters in the story is myself. And we have already seen that the objective standpoint cannot accommodate what appears to me as the special, incommunicable meaning of my existence for myself, the thisness of my experience.”

3) Return to a past article of your own – on a subject not too distant from the one you’re working on

I see the stage where I got stuck by the writer’s block to be the beginning of pruning the CCK08 concept maps. My natural learning style makes me produce the end result of my learning goals in the beginning of any course. I’ve several times experienced this to be VERY beneficial. One’s I survive the beginning – the rest of the course or the learning phase in general is – like letting loose… Kind of gathering, picking up the peaces I placed along the path of my learning during the start-up phase. I’ve consciously tried to off-learn this manner. It really truly increases innovativeness, productivity and creativity of my learning process to leave something – actually to learn to leave a lot – to be discovered during the last steps. Not kind of deciding in advance what the end result of my learning is going to be!!

However CCK08 caused such a brainstorm – I could not handle or manage it without returning to my most natural learning style, meaning beginning from the end and then kind of filling in the learning map (read: concept map) I created with all the contents belonging to completing the ongoing CCK08 course.

This is when I got stuck. My blog has remained silent for over three weeks. I’ve felt confused, even frustrated when not having been able to get unstuck. I was motivated to think hard though. CCK08 co-learner Keith expressed the source of the power of my motivation in his blog post of CCK08 week 5: “I have tried to read as many blogs as possible and am staggered by the richness of what people are doing. I have not experienced such a focused creative incandescence before.” Neither have I. I absolutely wanted to continue this unique and rewarding learning experience.

My key thought became: Instead of heavy pruning – focus on unpruning. Letting the concept maps be for a while. Concetrating in writing. One topic at a time. Taking my time. I combine completing the above mentioned “Getting Unstuck List” by Montgomery and starting unprunig by reading and re-reflecting my one year old essay for my next CCK08 blog post. I re-named my essay: “Pre-connective Thoughts”. For now – here it is totally unpruned as I gathered my thoughts of the learning chain transformative -> emergent -> authentic when studying the last Module of ELECTRA Global Online Course for Intercultural Understanding: The pre-connective-thoughts by Irmeli Aro (2007). I feel very relieved to be back.


Written by Irmeli Aro

October 31, 2008 at 12:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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2 Responses

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  1. Irmeli, you have deep messages on your pages. I’m curious: Where is the writing block? You do great things. Keep on with your work. I’ll take time to read your postings and your thought processes in detail. Have a nice weekend!

    Loviisa, Finland

    Helge V. Keitel

    November 1, 2008 at 8:35 pm

  2. […] was a flurry of writing on other topics too.  Irmeli shared her thoughts about writing and rediscovery. Pat wrote about Digital Identity. I tried to […]

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