I very much enjoyed this chapter. Davidson is one of the stronger writers in this book and his voice shines through his words. At first glance, I am struck by the image of a power law distribution. A power law says that small events will happen in greater frequency than large events. For example, earthquakes. There are hundreds of earthquakes every day, but the vast majority are never felt by humans. When a big one happens, we feel it. That big one however, is very statistically rare when compared to the number of small ones. There is something in here that is relevant to education (this is part of our M.Ed research project, looking for realizations in the math class and seeing if they fit power laws), but I am not entirely sure of what. Davidson alludes to it with his sense of big actions and everyday actions. Kids are taking action on a daily basis, though in our analysis of action as a concept, we tend to focus on the big events, and miss out on the small bits that are so important to being in the world.
The next aspect that struck me is the power of talk, especially in regards to reflection. I see power law distributions at play here as well. If reflection is to become a part of the disposition of learning that we are striving for, then do we need to hold off on the written reflections and allow for reflection to happen more spontaneously during the course of a day? Stop for a moment and reflect with your partner. Sit silently and reflect with yourself. No need to record it, just the act of reflecting itself is what we are after. All too often the reflection is tacked onto the end of the learning cycle, often in a methodized way (blog post, template, Color Symbol Image or other strategy, etc.). These are great, but is this really what we are looking for? They are very important, but are these just the big events in our power law distribution? Are we paying enough attention to the common events, those everyday earthquakes that nobody feels, or are we just searching for that big one?
This has me thinking about how this will effect my day to day life with my students. Perhaps, I don't need to see all their reflections? Just orient attention to the fact that they are being reflective, or I am providing a space for them to reflect in?
Anyway, this chapter was about Action, not reflection! Still, is there a difference? How much of the action is reflective practice? The problems we are asking our kids to consider are huge, wicked problems. They are complex, and by breaking them down into smaller bite size pieces I often feel that we are doing our kids a dis-service. The problems of the world cannot be solved with bake sales, or charity drives. Let's look at climate change. As a general requirement, it need a massive change in the way that we live. All the posters about saving electricity and the feel good slogans we come up with for a green future are not going to do anything as long as we keep living the way we live. I
Maybe, the best form of action is reflection? To be aware of ourselves, our thoughts, and our connection with the world around us. If we are mindful of the little common events, perhaps this reflective way of being will allow us to spot and act on the big, life changing stuff.