Category Archives: Critical thinking

Invitation to participate in a PhD research study


Startup Stock PhotosMy PhD research project is finally ready to start collecting data from teachers in the VET sector! This might not relate to you, but feel free to pass it on to someone you think might be interested …

Have you completed a Vocational Education and Training (VET) teaching diploma program any time since 2006? This might include:

  • 21697VIC Diploma of Vocational Education and Training Practice
  • TAA50104 Diploma of Training and Assessment
  • TAE50111 Diploma of Vocational Education and Training
  • TAE50211 Diploma of Training Design and Development

Did undertaking this contribute in any way to a transformed perspective of yourself as a learner, of learning more broadly, or to changes in your learning and teaching practice?

My name is Jennifer Miles and I am conducting a research project towards a PhD in Education at Monash University. I am seeking participants who are interested in contributing to a study that will explore the ways in which undertaking a VET diploma program (teaching) encouraged them to reflect on their identity as a learner and as a teacher, and to consider any consequent transformed perspectives on learning and teaching practice that emerged during or since undertaking the diploma.

The study involves two levels of participation, and you can choose one or both. You might decide just to complete the online survey, or to also participate in the in-depth interview process.

If you are interested, please follow the link and read the Explanatory Statement for full details, and at the end if this you will be asked if you wish to proceed with the survey

If you know of someone else who might be interested, please pass the message and link on to them. Thank you for your consideration!

Education for freedom


Today is Sunday, and I am grateful for the luxurious space it provides me. As I am currently undertaking a Yoga diploma (more about this in a later post), I decided to use this space to log on and complete some of the online components. The homepage on my desktop and laptop is the Greater Good Network’s ‘Hungersite’ and associated tabbed pages., so whenever I open up either of my computers, my first task for the day is to ‘Click here to give – it’s free’ buttons on each of these eight pages … it takes only a minute or two.

While navigating through them this morning I noticed an included quote from Maria Montessori, known for her pioneering work in early childhood education.

Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.

As often happens, this little thought took me on a journey of the mind through some of the associations the concept evoked. If you’ve read any of my blog, and followed some of the links included, you’ll know how passionate I am about education for freedom. For all.

I’m not a great supporter of the notion of ‘training’ or ‘instructing’ individuals with the aim of ensuring they have the necessary skills to perform a task or a job. I have no appreciation of the ‘transmission’ style of education – ‘filling their bucket’ of knowledge so they can carry out the requirements of a job role. Learning should be so much more than that.

My notion of education has been inspired by people like Maria Montessori … people who are passionately engaged in transformative learning … supporting each and every individual on their journey to becoming most fully who they can become. The greatest version of themselves.

People like Paulo Freire, Ira Shor, Carl Rogers, Jack Mezirow, Stephen Brookfield, Patricia Cranton  … Maria Montessori. Regular people doing incredible work, supporting regular people doing incredible work. Through the transformative process of learning about ourselves, learning about the world, and learning about the power we have to make a difference, we are able to become the greatest version of ourselves.

It starts with the freedom to learn, and the freedom to be, and we have the opportunity to live this every day as educators. Whether as formal educators, as employers, managers, parents, friends … any relationship between humans … we are constantly provided with opportunities to learn about ourselves, and to provide others the freedom to learn about themselves.

My knowing is that at any age, at any stage, no matter what, we are at a point where we can choose … and support each other … to step into ourselves, claiming our power and potential, and realising our dreams. Give yourself and others the freedom to dream and become!

To aid life … leaving it free however … that is the basic task of the educator.

Maria Montessori

It only takes one girl to make a difference …


In the thoughts expressed in my previous posting, there is no consideration of gender in the educational equation. I have just come across another great link from Yashar Ali’s Facebook page, to a Youtube video created by Gabriella. The video clip, entitled ‘It only takes a girl.’ asks us to reflect on the lived experience of a great percentage of the world’s female population.

Gabriella created this deeply challenging reflection with the support of her sisters and mother, and posted it a few days ago in her Facebook page. Within two days it attracted almost 7500 views. The thoughts I discussed in my previous post on educational imperatives take on an even more critical urgency when you consider her powerful message.

Thankyou Gabriella for making a difference.