To be yourself and no one else amongst the noise

Sarah Blasko – What The Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have

…a stunning performer who – whether at a cosycandlelit dinner venue, a remote country hotel or a big city theatre – commands the unwavering attention of her audience; and an entrancing vocalist who bids audiences hang upon her every note…

Sarah Blasko played the first gig of her Showstopper tour in Canberra last night. The above quote from her website says it all for me. The audience was captivated. She received rousing applause after every song and then silence. An expectant, intriguing silence that comes with the curiosity of watching a performer who is simply herself.

In watching Blasko’s show, I wondered about the pursuit of fame and how performers keep their feet on the ground — or not. To me it seems to be a balance between convention and creativity in a lot of ways and the creative tension that affords; using a medium to express your sense of the world and your lived experience of and in it.

“Everything experienced [Erlebte] is experienced through oneself [Selbsterlebtes], and this in part constitutes its meaning, that it belongs to the unity of this self and thereby contains a distinctive and irreplaceable relation to the whole of this one life” (Gadamer, 1975, p. 60 quoted).

We had a bit of a gathering yesterday with other staff from our Division to discuss ways we can work more collaboratively and more strategically in these cahnging times for our institution. I was aware of the term ‘experience’ and the number of times it was mentioned. We were certainly all interested in supporting the learners’ expereinces. However, it seems difficult to place it in action, by virtue of the fact that the learner, whoever they may be, is central to that experience – they own it, it is theirs. We talked more about creating spaces in whcih learners might feel more comfortable to ‘experience’ their learning. We talked about ways to support learners to enhance their experience. We discussed ways to support teachers who have a say in how a learner’s experience (of a course) could be better managed at a strategic, whole-of-institute level.

‘Experience’ is as elusive as ‘quality’. It requires immersion, emotion, commitment and the human body to be present. It is valued as it is remembered, and reflected on. It is contextual and relational, and it is re-experienced. No doubt, it is something we as individuals own and are; thus, supporting the experiences of others is a feat! Learning how to learn from our experience sounds like an ideal point from which to facilitate learning, yet always seems so difficult to do, given the personalised nature of such a process. Yet, it is something we must continue to strive for. The vast diversity of our experiences is our greatest learning tool!

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2 comments so far

  1. Artichoke on

    “If we are to understand how teaching relates to learning, we have to begin at the closest point to that learning, and that is the students’ experience.” Graham Nuthall 2001)

    I reckon that you’d enjoy Graham Nutall’s research exploring individual student “experience” The Hidden Lives of Learners

  2. Marg on

    Cheers Artichoke – I haven’t read George Nutall, so will follow up 🙂

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