"Educating is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire."
~ William Butler Yeats
Lighting a fire requires knowledge, skills, and daring. While fire requires air to survive, it also requires combustibles to start. Like fire, education that starts from concrete experience or observation is more meaningful and long lasting. Reflection and discussion help to approach abstract theoretical knowledge. In turn, theories, like a beam of light, can shed light on experience and observation, which leads to a continuum action-reflection-action (Freire). Both of the seemingly opposite poles of this continuum provide necessary material for the growth of significant understanding and knowledge.
Experiential knowledge helps to keep theoretical knowledge relevant. Grounding theories in the reality of our lives fosters a critical approach to knowledge and encourages engagement with the complexity of life. Learning to handle ambiguity demands, and promotes, creativity, and deepens knowledge. From information we move to analysis through a process of reflection. We must go beyond analytical skills to active and creative engagement. Beyond analytical and creativity skills, there is a need for leadership, exercising new knowledge into the world.
I believe knowledge is a collective creation. I therefore seek to encourage participation and make the atmosphere one of openness and inclusion of all present. Establishing good discussion practices is essential and has a direct impact on the quality of interactions and learning. Productive discussions require attention to content and process. An attitude of openness and flexibility of mind, commitment to truthfulness, willingness to share one’s views, and listening contribute to an atmosphere where all present can participate and build on each other’s contributions.
My experience with the educational process has been deeply meaningful, challenging and rewarding. I enjoy accompanying others on the path of discovery and knowledge and I wish to continue to make it my life’s work. My experience in non-formal education within complex cross-cultural contexts provide lived experience which, allied with academic studies, results in a dynamic mix of practical experience and theoretical knowledge. In 2022, I was honoured to receive the St. FX Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award.