It was an article by Michael Gordon and Michelle Grattan in The Age (18th September 2010) that caught my eye this week. Talking about how our new Prime Minister stays sane, it was revealed that Julia Gillard has ‘cone time’ (yes – a la Maxwell Smart!) marked into her diary – time where she literally has an appointment with herself to enable her time to think.
“I always try to make sure that during the week there’s time set aside where I can think, read, write. I mean obviously I’ve got a lot of paperwork, but you need the time with the paperwork and you need the time for it to be getting you to think , rather than just mechanically turning it over.”
I nearly touched on this just a couple of weeks ago in my blog about information overload. Then I was referring to us needing time to engage, learn, explore and discover – adamant in my belief that as educators we cannot remain stationary and ignore new methods, new techniques and new technologies; that we need to find time to explore the new. What I didn’t include in that blog though was the need to have time to ‘think’ about the new.
As I continue to move along my learning journey I am, more and more, recognizing, that I am in fact taking much time out to consider, digest and synthesize new learning and discoveries to which I have recently been exposed. I’ve noted this happening in odd situations: a morning walk or swim; a conversation had with someone; a wandering mind while reading or preparing dinner; and most definitely while writing blog posts. I now recognize that what I have been doing, unconsciously, is taking time out to think about issues. The notion of establishing a dedicated session to this important activity, had not really occurred to me until words read in The Age article leapt off the page at me. And … like all things recently discovered … you see it once, then twice and then, blow me down, it pops up all over the place!
No sooner had I read about our Prime Minister’s regular habit than I came across this short presentation by John Cleese. While talking about defining an environment to encourage creativity, Cleese mentions the need to take time out of the busy routines of our lives so as to establish an oasis guarded by boundaries of both space and time. Simply put, he contends that we must set up a restricted space devoid of interruptions and bound by a start and finish time so that creativity can be nurtured.
Time to think, so that new learning can be translated into creative solutions or creative innovative programs is so very important. Creating situations that enable us time to think become paramount for progress. Without even realizing it, I have, throughout the VicPLN program, been taking time to think. The fact that the program extended over 12 weeks has been an important ingredient contributing to this opportunity. Time to soak up the new, to consider the implications and applications of new skills explored and mastered has been an integral part of the program.
The day can be so hectic, the work-a-day routines so established. Time is always at a premium. Prioritizing what and how our schools can become better is so very important. Being busy in our schools is not always an indication of progressive practice. Taking time to think is essential if new learning is to be incorporated into our daily endeavours.