#rhizo15 and Jürgen Habermas

pinksterblomMessy things in #rhizo15, http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/journal/insoumis/ and a text of Jürgen Habermas connect to some rhizomatic (?) “Mode of communication”.

Habermas: … With the performative attitude that we should take as we  want to discuss something , every speaker is (certainly not traditionally been utilized in an articulated manner) the possibility to use  the ‘I/me’ of the illocutionary act to use in such a way, to impose the understandable requirement that I/me as an individual, who is taking my own history/story of life irreplaceable as my own,  is being recognized as a person.
At the same time  alter as well as ego know, while consulting with each other on the universality of a propositional subject, that they are part of the very special context of their environment.

(my translation from p. 151 of a Dutch book with some texts and speeches of Habermas: Na-metafysisch denken (Jürgen Habermas) 1990.

It is the recognition as a person that is at the heart of (rhizomatic) teaching.

The academic way of conceptualization of data and of personal stories is in my view an almost metaphysical discourse. In these almost metaphysical discourses (in education) inter-subjectivity is  damaged.

The question is now: Is the academic discourse on education useful  in some way?  Should academic discourses on education and teaching as a rule take in account the inter-subjectivity and the importance of the informal and personal sphere?


Letter to a new student in #rhizo15 or the next course

Confucius_Tang_Dynasty不要緊,你怎麼去慢慢地,只要你不停止。 (It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.Confucius)


Remember, the only student at Unseen University anybody remembers and likes is Rincewind. And you know what? He failed his exams. Rincewind is a wizard with no skill, no wizardly qualifications.

What do you think of that?


Dear student,

Now is the big moment.
As a new open learning or Mooc student you will need these:

Gumption & perseverance

Because the start will be disappointing and the fellow students will not seem very helpful (you need to know and consider they are also new to the course). You need passion and commitment. Remember in dark and depressing moments why the course is funny and why you want to learn. Write a blogpost about your passion and commitment and gumption and perseverance to remember in hard times.

Surprise us with your skills and knowledge, your jokes and music and poems.
Knowledge and skills of social media. The internet is loaded with courses and help pages about almost anything. You could help fellow students improve their skills.
Know the facts. write down the course URLs and hashtags, know the places and times. Put the facts in a blogpost to remember them.
Asking Questions. Ask questions. If you do not ask questions you will fail.
Be your own master and teacher. Open learning is for grown-ups, for independent humans. If you are in doubt, start and try, this will be a new learning theme for you in this course. Write and publish something about that.
Connect to fellow students, retweet; use hashtags; answer tweets even from students you do not know. You know that a comment on your blog or an answer on twitter or facebook  is a pleasure and a reward, be generous with comments and answers. You are not alone and you do really need these fellow students. And do connect to people outside the course, make them join. Discuss the course with people around you.
Publish. Blog and reblog, write comment on blogs. Leave your web address on blogs. Publish your blogpost on twitter or facebook or any other platform. Because learning is connecting.


#Ithaca #rhizo15 About education. Process or …

Poems by Constantine P. Cavafy : 77 / 189

Ithaca – Poem by Constantine P. Cavafy

When you set out for Ithaca
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.

Ask that your way be long.
At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, what joy –
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.

Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don’t in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn’t anything else to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn’t deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you’ll have understood what these Ithakas mean.
Constantine P. Cavafy

Invasive story #rhizo15


Some time ago in the Hebrides and the Highlands of Scotland something invasive happened. It is called the Clearances. Rich people who owned the fields of the farmers wanted the fields cleared of farmers. The crofters as they are known. In the process people even invented a racist argument to clear the Highlands of the so called inferior Celtic people.
A real invasion with help of army, navy of thousands of sheep did do the job. The farmers had to move from their farms and clear their fields. They had to move to other countries to survive. The house in the picture above is part of a deserted village on Lewis and Harris (Outer Hebrides)

Invasive is not only a biological word used for some plants, but it is a word used in wars and with force of weapons. And it is a word used for cancer cells invading in tissue.

Invasive conduct in a course happens almost unknown. People enter the room and space and ask for attention and answers and reactions. Just that, no harm meant. But it is invasive conduct and other participants have to give room and space or disappear or fight back.
The members of discussion groups do know these few who always are first to answer questions and who talk more than other members of the group.

changing small group Roles into rhizoroles #rhizo15

Group ActivityBenne and Sheats (1948) identified three broad types of roles people play in small groups: task roles, building and maintenance roles, and self-centered roles.
I play with these roles to think about rules and roles in rhizomatic learning.
Group culture (even rhizomatic group culture?) needs facilitating and guiding, but who will do that if the teacher (as a dominant group role) is not in the course? Maybe we could co-faciltate each other with sufficient openness to difference? (question of Frances Bell in a tweet) Is this co-facilitating really possible or is it the ‘fundamental cognitive error

Task Roles: Focus is on completing group’s goal

Coordinator: Relates statements made
by one group member
to another group member

Energizer: Stimulates group
to take action

Expands upon
another’s ideas

Assesses the group’s
work by higher standards

Provides helpful

Asks for

Recorder: Keep notes (minutes)
about a meeting

Procedural Technician:
for tasks

Group-Building/Maintenance Roles
Focus is on building interpersonal relationships, maintaining harmony

positive feedback

Accepts ideas of others in group

Attempts to reach a solution everyone finds acceptable

Facilitates participation
from everyone in group

Reduces conflict and tension
(often through humor)

group progress

Acts antagonistic
other group members
and their ideas

Monopolizes group
speaking time

Refuses to cooperate with other’s ideas

Acts helpless to avoid work

Avoids work

Special Interest Advocate:
Presents own viewpoint
and needs

Self-confessor: Discusses topics only of importance to self and not the group

Coordinator: Relates statements made by a group member to another statement from outside the group.

Energizer: Stimulates group to bring activity from outside into the group.

Elaborator: Expands upon another’s ideas and relates to ideas found outside the group.

Evaluator-critic: Assesses the group’s work by higher standards compares with the outside world.

Information-giver: Provides helpful information from outside the course, the group.

Information-seeker: Asks for clarification, and for connection to other sources of information.

Recorder: Keep notes about meeting and blogs about that.

Procedural Technician: Takes responsibility for tasks and asks members to connect to the outside world.

Group-Building/Maintenance Roles
Focus is on building interpersonal relationships, maintaining harmony

Encourager: Provides positive feedback if new connections are made

Follower: Accepts ideas of others and of new persons in the group

Compromiser: Attempts to discuss broadly when inside and outside views do cause disruption

Gatekeeper: Facilitates participation from everyone in group and from outsiders

Harmonizer: Reduces conflict and tension (often through humor) and looks for inspiration outside.

Observer: Evaluates group progress and has special care for openness and connectivity to outside.

Aggressor: Acts antagonistic and disruptive towards other group members and their ideas by introducing outside voices and ideas.

Dominator: Monopolizes group speaking time and tries to close the group for outsiders.

Blocker: Refuses to cooperate with other’s ideas if these are closing the group from outside.

Help-Seeker: Acts helpless to make the group open and rhizomatic

Loafer: Avoids work, and refuses looking outside the inner circle.

Special Interest Advocate: Presents own viewpoint and needs, and does not help to keep an open group

Self-confessor: Discusses topics only of importance to self and not the group

Rhizomatic learning, group think and connections in #rhizo15

connectingTo learn rhizomatic one needs connections.
The more connections the better, because knowledge and learning is in the connections.
That is why I strongly agree with people who do connect discussions on facebook with those on twitter. This is a very connective and rhizomatic idea. Open up the group and add new connections.

Daniel Clark shares some knowledge about open and closes group processes:  The American psychologist Irving Janis (Janis, I. (1972). Victims of Groupthink: a Psychological Study of Foreign-Policy Decisions and Fiascoes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.) developed the concept of “groupthink” to describe irrational and even dangerous decision-making that can take place within closed groups. https://learningshrew.wordpress.com/2015/05/17/rhizo15-balancing-cohesion-and-openness-in-communities/ . Makes me think of the secret history of Donna Tartt.

This group think is a danger to rhizomatic learning. A mass of New connections are necessary to open up new views and knowledge. Rhizomatic learning seems to be a rather creative learning process and not a conservative learning process.

Mariana Funes wrote a very interesting blog on this group think