My shiny new blog…

…to support my shiny new doctoral studies at Oxford Brookes. I chose a map of the city as the header image because ‘space and place’ was an important factor for me in deciding where to study. As well as Brookes having a great reputation for learning and teaching (and learning & teaching research), I’m hoping that making the two-hour journey every few weeks for a full day of face-to-face workshops will force me to set aside time and space for my studies, and the sense of ‘eventedness’ (got that word from Dave White) will help to motivate me. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the role of inflexibility in helping people to achieve their goals and I think that having immoveable events and deadlines to work towards is going to be what carries me to the end of this five year road. I’m no more disciplined than the average person and I know that to succeed at this I need to create structures around myself; in a sense, to be an architect of my own behaviour.

With a noticeable nod to Arnold Rimmer*, I’ve created a multicoloured study plan for the period up until the next workshop, blocking out between 4 and 7 hours a week to cover the essential reading and get reflective notes up on the blog. One of the things that detracted from my enjoyment of my Masters degree was that I didn’t have a realistic plan. I just put everything off and felt guilty the whole time. This schedule should help me to get into the habit of doing a little, often, and enjoying my downtime.

I found blogging really helped my learning back in 2009 when I was working on; hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of it quickly – writing this first post has made me realise the extent to which I’ve got out of practice; over-thinking what I write, etc.! The timing is ideal as my own students (67 of them) have just started their blogs for the Learning & Teaching in Art & Design unit. A little empathy goes a long way…

*not his educational achievements, just his initial planning processes :-/

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