When I took David Berger’s Eco-Leadership workshop, we were instructed to look for the connections in all things.
I’ve been looking.
I’ve found a lot of connections.
The Earth, of course, is the (organic) base of all things. From there, we connect everything to humans. Humans must communicate. Communication involves all things: written languages, oral languages, sign language, body language, 5 senses, a 6th sense, pheromones, and all sorts of other things we don’t even know about.
I deal with written and oral English, but I can’t discount any other languages, nor the other means of communication. English, in particular, is made up of so many bits and pieces, and is spoken in such obscure corners of the world, that I am surprised we can deem it all the same language. Finding the all connections in English would take more than a lifetime; I believe people have tried….
When I teach English, I prefer to do it in a useable context. History cannot be separated from language, nor can Science, nor Phys. Ed., not Math (shudder). I take it upon myself to teach my students how to translate the exasperation they feel towards writing into writing itself. I like to show them words like “furrowed brow” and “emanating repugnance”.
The process of making connections is not one which is really being taught in the schools at the moment. The focus seems to be on absorbing information. Information is, naturally, essential to making connections, but I want my students to be able to make connections which go beyond the perimeter of the textbook. I want them to be able to connect their grandfather’s weak bones to the diet of a European during WWII. I want them to be able to connect evil and goodness. I want them to be able to connect the existence of modern society to the invention of the zero.
Kyle Cassidy is, I think, the god of connections. Not just for his 2xcreative project (brilliant, isn’t it?), but for his word/images connections; his live journal is one of my favourite things to read. His Where I Write project connects images to atmosphere to creativity to words to people…
I’ve pretty much decided how I want to teach. (Now, if I could just find someone who would pay me loads of money to do it.) I’ve pretty much decided the sorts of things I want to write. (Ditto.) So many more connections to make.