I am going on walks every day, often Nordic Walking–which in Scotland earns me strange looks and the occasional comment. As spring takes hold and the days become longer, if not necessarily warmer, I was thinking about emergence. As educators we are used to being in an autopoietic state (Kidd, 2015), but the process of self-emergence is usually also self-determined. At the moment, external forces accelerate this process and we are constantly renegotiating our selves within the ever changing situation.

My thoughts around emergence are as uncooked as the process. I am not yet sure where I am going with them. So that’s a space-holder thought-piece. There are some themes, self-emergence as educator, as leader in a specific area in your institution or beyond, emergence of everything that doesn’t work in my courses as there seems to be a magnifying glass on all the bumps and bruises (maybe because of the need to change communication and instruction material), everything I don’t know becomes more acute–the reading lists gathering digital or actual dust are consulted again, everything I know, moves from unconscious expertise to conscious expertise as I find myself supporting others more in my role as lecturer in academic development. New ideas are emerging, new connections forged in social media, with others awash in the sea of change. New tasks and remits emerge for which there was no reason, or need prior. So I am spending my days in flux, flow, and anxiety (a roller-coaster someone recently said), interspersed with gardening breaks, coffee and way too much chocolate.

Rickety wooden fence along a wooded area

The topic–sort-of–related to emergence, is that of changing boundaries, ‘that’s how we’ve always done it’-teaching, -working patterns, -Didaktik *,(Jank & Meyer, 2019). Boundaries between work and private life (Did your cat just jump onto the keyboard?), and the continuous days bleeding into one another, lost their demarcation zones, like a toothless fence withered away, not by time and weather, but one hurricane missed by the early warning system. Making space, though. Space for new things to emerge. Note to self: this emergence needs time, new growth will not have deep roots, or withhold a strong wind, but strong growth will remain (relationships, things that work), and create a new landscape.


Jank, Werner, and Hilbert Meyer, Didaktische Modelle, 13th edn (Berlin: Cornelsen Verlag GmbH, 2019)

Kidd, Debra (2015). Becoming Mobius. The Complex Matter of Education. Carmarthen: Crown House Publishing.

*As in the German the Theory and Practice of learning and teaching

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