Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Narrowing the focus with 'Me as a Teacher'

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”
Roald Dahl, My Uncle Oswald

Personally I believe that to be a truly effective teacher, you need to instill passion and enthusiasm in your learners to be able to bring about some type of change in their life. Because for me, that's what learning is - change.

I am currently working in a People & Development role (fancy name for HR), which although facilitates training, does not actually conduct any training or teaching. Am I passionate about it the way Road Dahl describes above? No. No I am not. I couldn't convey enthusiasm even if I tried as I am coming from an empty pot , there is nothing left to give!

But what is my passion? This is a question that reverts back to my very core, my very essence, one I have been continually asking of myself.  Varshavskaya (2014) poses the question to ask oneself as 'what I would be interested in doing if money were of no concern'. My Nautropath gets me to think about my passion when she asks 'what is it that makes your heart sing?' (I kinda like the visual of my heart singing).

For me the answer is a no brainer, but at the same time, is  fraught with issues surrounding economic, parental, political and if I'm really honest, fear.

If money were no object, I would be working in a permaculture role from home, teaching others how to do it for themselves.  Perhaps start a seed business to sell online through my blog. Become interested in natural healing using herbs from my garden.Teach people to not rely on others but to be able to give the confidence to others to be able to do it for themselves. I could talk about this topic all day long, I could be researching it til 'the cows come home', I often find myself saying 'Did you know that...' or 'I watched/read/thought about this today and it got me thinking about...'. Like I said, a no brainer for me.

But what is the demand for people to learn this type of information? Is there a market for teaching skills in this area?

I have been interested to read about what others from the course are planning to do.Charm is exploring her use of ICT in supporting teachers, Rebecca White is expanding ICT and NGL with her Yr 4s, Bec is looking at it from a higher education perspective, Sharon from a secondary education perspective Lisa is looking at html and javascript from a LMS perspective, and I am glad Al that you are having similar issues to me in identifying the 'teaching' aspect!

I do feel a little lost compared to others in this course as I am not coming from a current teaching background.  I have considered looking at my 'teaching' aspect as it is described in the assignment requirements - 'to help someone learn' - with the view for this to turn into more formal teaching in the future. 

To expand on my adventures in teaching within a NETGL environment, I feel I can now respond to these questions more adequately;

What is your role as a teacher? Who are your students? What is the context?
  • focus teaching strategies on small scale permaculture to beginners (most established permaculture sites are on larger acreage/small farms or small urban blocks)
  • to facilitate learning opportunities for our climate in the Yass Valley, whilst understanding the upcoming climate challenges
  • Initially, this teaching will be to a 'set' of learners, as described by  Dron & Anderson 2014 and could possibly include ,networks' to get the initial knowledge of my existence 'out there'. It would not be as specific as a group. I guess I will be appealing to the 'lurkers' (those that read but do not participate in electronic discussions) as described by Gray (1999).
 What role does NGL currently play in that context? 
  •  Permaculture Design Course online opportunities
  • Numerous 'experts' in the permaculture field with substantially more experience than me (See some of the videos posted by Geoff Lawnton )  and Bill Mollinson 'Global Gardener' TV series on YouTube.
  • Excellent knowledge sharing through forums  
How do you think NGL might help? 
  • Use blog as basis to attract people and for the name to be seen on other blogs
  • Attract people to formal courses (long term goal)
  • Be able to comment on other local blogs/information and gain credibility by linking/commenting with others on social media
  • Gain credibility by demonstrating knowledge
  • Potential to connect with other practitioners from similar climates in other parts of Australia and even the world.
What difficulties might you face with implementation?
  • Credibility as a teacher, not well known in the area for this type of teaching 
  • How the 'me' can shine through online (potential for videos?)
  • Unsure how I can incorporate all the different learning styles in an online environment
 I still have a lot to tease out in relation to this topic and especially within a NETGL setting but it is a start :)


  1. What a fascinating path you're on, Murra Mumma - and a woman after my own hippy heart. I grew up not far from Bill Mollison's farm at Tyalgum and LOVED the global gardener series. I've been especially wanting to watch the final episode again. It would be great to find it on YouTube.

    As far as making a living this way, I think you would be surprised at some of the people out there blogging and making YouTube videos - and earning their money through ad revenue while also increasing their professional reputation. I think, as you mention, that it's really a matter of finding your niche and increasing your profile within that community. There's a YouTube-er called StampyLongFace, for example, who began doing Minecraft how-to videos (among other things) for kids and now works with Disney on a YouTube educational channel.

    I would love it if you shot video of your sauerkraut adventures. That's something I'd sit through an ad to watch on YouTube!


    1. Thanks Lisa! I think I really have to make my mind up and just 'go' with it, and as you say, find my niche.

      I will have to bribe my daughter to film me making sauerkraut! Although she would be better at it then me!

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  3. Hi Murra Mumma, the honesty and the passion are inspiring. A colleague of mine recently said that she sees all her students as desperate for change. She pointed out that most students are already busy and don't have much money yet they are prepared to pay quite a hefty sum of money and spend time learning new things. I'm glad you identified your passion as that will have a huge impact in involving others; if you master the necessary tools, all you have to offer will be obvious.