Whoever you are, go out into the evening,
Leaving your room of which you know each bit;
Your house is the last before the infinite,
Whoever you are.
Then with your eyes that wearily
Scarce lift themselves from the worn-out door-stone
Slowly you raise a shadowy black tree
And fix it on the sky: slender, alone.
And you have made the world - and it shall grow and ripen as a word, unspoken, still.
When you have grasped its meaning with your will,
Then tenderly your eyes will let it go…..Rilke (initiation)


What is your narrative? What is your story? If stories provide the song lines of our existence, who are you and what do you want to say? A picture paints a thousand words but stories shape our world. Language allows us to engage with the world but on what level, it is up to us. What we read, the language we use, is the currency through which we access our connections and relationships. To strengthen language is to strengthen connections and relationships.


We are what we read.


To look into hermeneutics and the work of philosophers, linguists (Piaget, Bruner, Chomsky, Foucault, Ponty-Merleau….who else?) is to understand that language is not a by-product of our experience, it shapes experience.


Embodied cognition and how we move allows us to viscerally experience and learn. It is not to remove awareness but to make meaning and access the true power of language and cognition.


The brain was meant to learn through patterns, meant to dissect wholes, so why do we always break things up into teency tiny parts?


The brain is connected to the body. Duh. Let’s teach that way.

The brain learns by information through the senses. Our senses, we say 6, maybe there are more, are stimulated by emotions. We are not blank canvases but learning without emotions reduces us to a blank canvas.


Intuition is a sense.


Language shapes our views but the view shapes our language.


To discuss embodied learning is to align with the great thinkers, Einstein, Picasso, Darwin, Dewey, take your pick, who knew that we are an evolved brain inside a body. To not use the nutrients of the body is to not maximise the brain. The senses stimulate our hands and feet and eyes and eyes, the sense are tools for learning, sensitivity, subtle, nuanced, individual tools – shouldn’t these sensory tools be evident in the language that is used in education, curriculum and policy? To pull learning into the body is not to detract, defer, deflect learning integrity, why do our policies imply this. Why do our documents strive to find the circular, spiral way of learning yet our teaching is still linear, how do we promote an inner feedback look that is not A-B but A-B via A to Z. Learning is not linear, we know this. It is the self-reflection that drives further thought and actions. We are what we eat, we are what we think. Through self-engagement with learning we provide the inner connections that are a part of the fabric of our being. We learn in a connected world. In order for self-learning we need to be connected to our inner world. How do we count the number of grains of sand on the beach? We don’t, we just know and trust that it is there. We cannot quantify the way a child learns but we can trust that a child is built to learn and teach to that. How do we a trust a child? We first trust ourselves as educators. How do we trust ourselves, we paint, we write, we dance, we masturbate, we find ourselves and know we are good.


When was the last time you really danced?


How do we make learning about being human? Let’s talk about this.


Yes embodied learning is a view point that recognises the completeness through which we learn. This discussion recognises that we have arms, legs, hippocampus, brain-stem, finger nails, all with important individual functions. To compartmentalise our knowledge is to tap into a strength of how our society values learning, and how we learn. But we must not forget the whole.


To learn in parts, phonemes, drills, is important, it creates a rhythm, a tempo to learning that has a momentum that builds and cuts a groove. Drills teaches us to work with attention to detail, with a method that humans like. Drills are good. Parts are good. Keep doing this teachers, find the music in your drills, do it for 10 minutes a make it count, feel the sweat of your brain as it keeps up with the connections. Use this as food not slavery.


We are a product of our frequencies that engage with the word.


The frequencies of our being allow us to engage and form patterns. Our bodies are always internally moving, always searching. We must not forget the whole.


To learn in parts, phonemes, drills, is important, it creates a rhythm, a tempo to learning that has a momentum that builds and cuts a groove. Drills teaches us to work with attention to detail, with a method that humans like. Drills are good. Parts are good. Keep doing this teachers, find the music in your drills, do it for 10 minutes a make it count, feel the sweat of your brain as it keeps up with the connections. Use this as food not slavery.


Step by step is considered essential within learning, and it is, but what if for a moment we recognise humans as pattern makers and pattern formers, what if we value ourselves as learners, recognising that before schools the learning that happened was inbuilt through our design and our community. The mirror neurons: we observe and replicate. Without empathy our mirror neurons do not function, our ability to learn ceases. To strengthen our emotions is to strengthen our ability to learn. It seems pretty simple really. Be a human, not a mask.


Emotional intelligence has been discussed since the dawn of philosophy. Plato described not understanding our emotions as letting our lives be led by a team of “wild horses”. To engage with philosophical discussion is to draw the science into our emotional realm. To discuss philosophy within education is not to hijack the discussion, take it down an unnecessary path, it’s to allow a platform of complete engagement, where progress can result. It provides a solid base. Without it, our policy and curriculum is built on sand.


To discuss science and philosophy is to come to a place where streams of engagement move toward, as was always intended, to strengthen the cause. Like mind and body, society is coming to a point in time where we hunger to unite, to connect. Science and philosophy are partners not enemies. The mind and body are partners, not enemies. How do we allow this awareness to permeate our thoughts to a point where it shapes our language and therefore shapes our actions. Our thoughts become our words, our words become our actions. Yes actions speak louder than words but they come, mostly, from a place of thought.


This thought is driven by language, by society, history, culture, experience. Sometimes our actions are involuntary, they bypass C and go straight from A-B. This learnt behaviour can be tacit and nuanced to a point where language becomes difficult. However, this depends on our level of emotional intelligence, our ability to recognise what we are feeling and why. To look too deeply is potentially to implode but there is an awareness rather than a critique. How do I make sure I do not implode as I write these words?


To look to language, research is to recognise the critique. Critical thinking is recognised as an integral part to how we engage actively in the world, as an active participant. But what if critiquing is the soft critique? Adjectives like ‘soft’ have begun to appear in circulation within discussions of leadership and characteristics, as strong qualities. How can softness shape this inquiry?


Within the brain we recognise the left and right brain and its role and function, a hook that draws us toward the notion of our constant connections – the yin and yang of our existence is everywhere. Brain function becomes a way to justify and strengthen engagements within the discussion of creativity.


Creativity and innovation have taken a pedestal place within discussions on education both nationally and internationally. Curriculum is influenced by the demands of society and schools are a product of the world in which they live. The conflict and tension that is in place between the industrial comfort of what ‘we know’ and the demands and pressure of ‘what we don’t’ know’, all of the statistics reminds us that the comfort of traditional schooling no longer serves our future leaders. Possibly this will remain. Possibly our future leaders will continue to be outliers within the school system, with an inquisition, hunger and thirst for newness and freshness that makes them ‘difficult’ to manage within the comfort of our school system. Not everyone will add to this team of ‘innovators and creators’ – that is not practical, we will always need the worker bees, even more than the queen bees. But what everyone will need is a connection to their humanness. In our society today, not to digress but look at statistics marriages fail. With the #metoo #blacklivesmatter becoming prevalent discussion topics deeply connected to ‘who am I’ and ‘what do I stand for’ are shifting the way we engage with our world. Our language is shifting. This means our thoughts are shifting. This means our actions are shifting. To shift our language is to evoke change.


To recognise the power of language is to recognise the power of academia in shaping future action and choices. I connect by learning through the body. To follow only a path of language as a way toward learning comes with resistance. But if through language we can provide a template that allows a preparedness to engage with our body and our humanness more completely, possibly this becomes a worthwhile endeavour.


So what is this language and where should it appear? The power of metaphor and descriptive language has shown to stir and illuminate language and ideas. Why? Because we live through stories and narrative. We are defined by the stories that are told and the stories we tell. What is my story? How do I tell it? To insert metaphor and story language into documents is to begin to recognise a humanness that has the power to shape our world view. Humanness does not detract, it enhances. Policy documents bound in technical jargon ostracise and place a barrier, a way toward power and control. To align with contemporary leadership is to remove those barriers and the aloof hierarchy that comes from an unwillingness to present an authentic self, to provide a distance that shows them and us. It is to completely engage in the mind/body debate, to draw in, not repel.

Strength in numbers, strength in words, through inclusive words we create strength.


You are beautiful. Do you know it?


So let us imagine for a moment that our policy documents could contain a humanness. What would this language look like? We need to look to values, beliefs, attitudes, human attributes. What about a word like beauty. This word would not be considered appropriate within policy, but why not?


Beauty is here, dripping in meaning, power and influence. Can we reclaim this word? Can we plough it back into the soil so that it can become the nourishment that it was intended. Let us start with this - what is beautiful to you?