Monday, March 30, 2009

4. On time and date of publication

For the record, I am publishing this from New Zealand where it is early evening on 31 March - sometime about 6.30pm. It appears as though it is being written from the Western Seaboard of USA, I think.

Yes - to translate the apparent time of posting to the actual time you need to add one day and subtract four hours.

3. hem35 - why this name?

I use hem35 for many reasons.

Firstly, it is my user name at the University of Canterbury where I work. The 35 suggests there were at least 34 other people with the initials HEM prior to my joining the university when the Christchurch College of Education merged with the university at the start of 2007. Before that I had been called mayoe but I much prefer hem35. (I might write, another day, about various aspects of the mergers in general, and this one in particular.)

I love my initials: hem. It could be sort-of-a-part of an apologetic cough - start with the cough and then add the hem. More romantically: the H reminds me of my mother, Helen and the special place she played in my life, as a role model and much much more; and the M reminds my of my late husband, Kevern, because Mayo is my married name. And I am Elaine, the E, sitting between them - thus HEM reminds me that I am supported (still) by two incredibly special people who died last century, in 1969 and 1996 respectively.

And thirdly, not many people know this, but I coded these initials into my thesis. H became Helene, E became Ernest, and M became Meanui. These three entities were able to speak with different voices within what I wrote so that I did not need to maintain the single voice of an author. While they did not speak much, this structure allowed me to speak in different tongues. The ploy served me well, but more of that later (possibly, if it becomes important).

2. My use of colour in blog writing ...

On the use of colour:
  • green - these are terms that will appear in my glossary of terms that will be a wiki which will be linked from this site. One of the problems with my story is that there are many words I use in particular ways that are not in common use (except in specialist conversations) yet the ideas are not difficult. My glosses wiki is designed to give a simple explanation of how I use the term followed by some discussion about its use (possibly from texts and possibly conversations that are about to emerge in e-space).
  • rust coloured - these are insights that have emerged for me during the writing. What I want from this exercise is to be able to document my writing in ways that open it up to ongoing conversation. As I do this I am learning. The rust colour highlights those little insights of the moment that accumulate, over time, into learning.
  • blue - these are (potentially, in the future) links to e-spaces. I plan to link into various spaces I have already set up (other blogs or wiki spaces) and some I have yet to build (a website where I can make formatted documents accessible).
  • Purple - these are ideas that I could expand on in later blog entries. If people ask me about them, then I will reply. Otherwise, they might or might not emerge later as I get into the habit of musing on whatever whenever.

1. Starting out ... why this blog?

I called my PhD thesis Towards Collective Praxis: Complexity, Pragmatism and Practice. I graduated five years ago, but the thesis continues: I live it daily; I strive for collective praxis; I value complexity thinking; I see pragmatism as an underpinning philosophical/epistemological stance that allows me the flexibility I love; and I use practice to refer to both the practices of teaching, and more broadly, to habits of living, learning, and being.

I think of the thesis as a living thesis: the written document was simply the statement of that thesis at some point in 2003.

This blog aims to weave together a multitude of the threads and strands of thinking that impact on my work as a teacher, an educator, a researcher, a thinker, a philosophiser and, at times, an activist who is trying to promote ongoing conversation as a way of fostering social justice.

What I aim to do is to write about current happenings in ways that allow me, gradually, to revisit many of the ideas I have explored over the years. Some of my colleagues are interested in the ideas I share. This is an attempt to bring together enough of my thinking to make a coherent story. I hope the story will emerge in conversation with others, either f2f or through this blog or its links. I want to create an ongoing conversation with many participants.

So, welcome, dear reader, and hopefully, writer ... I hope you might join me.