Earlier this week, as the onslaught of spring gathered pace, I finally succumbed to the lawn-mowing and weeding imperative. I was dismayed to find that my knees, which have always worked pretty well – you know, bending in the right spot when necessary and then returning the leg to an appropriate level of straightness – hurt like hell afterwards.
It was a (literally) painful reminder of the ageing process. Something similar has happened over the last couple of days as I’ve got involved in a bit of an intellectual workout at www.literacyconversation.org, mainly in discussion with Doug Belshaw. I’ve really enjoyed the process of beginning to thrash out my own sense of what literacy is, and what it means in the context of developments in communication and learning technologies, but I’m finding it hard work. When I was a student, I’d have been able to formulate and then write about my ideas quickly and at length (as Doug is able to: he was writing 2000+ words of his Ed.D thesis while I was agonizing over a couple of posts to that forum!) but now I’ve lost the habit of thinking, writing and conversing on such matters, I’m finding that I’m exercising mental faculties that have atrophied somewhat without me realising it.
I do think it’s incredibly valuable to engage not only in thinking about pedagogy and the ideas surrounding it, but to have that thinking tested by others who are doing likewise. I didn’t realise my mind needed exercising in this way until I picked it up again.
(Just as I didn’t realise my knees were seizing up until I tried something unfamiliar with them…