A space to reflect on my readings and musings, scattered and rescattered



This last week I had the pleasure of attending the International Writing Center Association's Annual Conference , something that gave me the opportunity, as being with WC people often does, to count the ways in which the unfortunate binary that I often set up within the education world--theory/practice--is best broken apart by one simple thing: community (well, and maybe a little action and reflection). But seriously, it's only in sitting with people--some long-time friends, some new friends, some folks I even disagree with but who still work with and care about students, that I find a moment of peace to let down my guard against the "apractical" educationalists. And perhaps it's because I don't see any of them in the room--all of these folks are sitting together talking quite simply about their students, how to educate better, even if they use Bahktin, Soja and Lefebvre, Family Guy metaphors, Wenger, urban planning discourse, or the not-so-fancy framework of the everyday. Somehow it's a more true community of practice or learning community than I find in some of the other areas of my life: there all participants works in a WC (or used to) and are committed to find a way to get better at this education thing, using whatever theory or model or story or pop culture or geography reference or whatever they can find. And in that digging to find something, that hardworking attempt to fuse that not-too-false-but-perhaps-overstated-by-this-researcher theory/practice binary, we find a kind of salve in our community. I might be romanticizing that community here, but who really cares. It's better than stewing about the theory/practice divide.

I close with a line from a fortune cookie I received at a group dinner (who knew, Houston=amazing Vietnamese cuisine, among other things), mostly because my co-presenters and I laughed until we cried when I read it out loud: "You are more intuitive than logical. You often learn better by doing than by theorizing first." I swear I didn't make this up, though I was accused of it. I think I might like it better this way: "You are intuitive and logical. You learn best by doing, theorizing, and reflecting with your community all at the same time."


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