52 “Just Look For Openings”

Kate Elvey

First, I struggled being creative. I realized as I was doing this how ridiculous that felt considering I ask my students to do it ALL the time, and here I am complaining and agonizing about it. Then I was inspired by Amanda’s drawing online and I let that take me where it would. Second, this was like my tenth draft (I swear) and this is the best I could do. WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL MY CREATIVITY!? I USED TO BE YOUNG AND GOOD WITH THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX. Moving on…

I found inspiration in multiple places/ people.

I asked questions I had not.

But my BIGGEST question is “how do we create self-motivated learners”. This is the Habit of Mind I am (personally) most “stuck” on. Between CPLC, Gen Ed, Norming, HoM, etc. I have struggled to understand MOTIVATION. This led me on an outside (CPLC) journey, to try to understand  motivation deeper. I came across a few resources and I am hoping to continue my journey on understanding this process. I believe open pedagogy is the way to go for this motivation and creating life-long learners, but making sure it is suitable for everyone or fits their needs is something I will struggle with (and I am sure they will too).

Also, Matt Cheney saying “open doesn’t have to mean totally open, just look for openings” totally blew my mind. His discussion with our small group about what holds us back (whether it’s content, aligned syllabi, or accreditation) doesn’t mean you have to be totally out there, just look for where and when you can be. MIND BLOWN!

Thanks for some inspirational sessions and ALL of the hard work.


graphic interpretation of this essay by Denise Hutchins
created by Denise Hutchins




1 Response to “Just Look For Openings”

  1. Julie Fagan on January 2, 2020 at 6:09 pm says:

    Your statement that we ask our students to do things that we struggle with ourselves is so very true, and it applies to the overall concept of teaching and learning. Active learning, project-based instruction, and student-designed courses are likely unfamiliar to most students and faculty. So how best to move forward? For me, it is difficult to let go of the expectation (mine as well as students’) that I am in control of what gets taught. Especially in an accredited program with proscribed content, it is really difficult to turn over some of that control to students. I am taking little baby steps with specific class activities wherein the outcome is mine, but how we get there can be a group decision. I also think that tapping more into our creativity (yes, we all have some) inherently promotes a different kind of learning. Drawing a concept map instead of writing an essay, for example, uses creative skills that may not be language-based. Drawing pictograms or creating digital pictographs takes that activity one step further into the creative realm. For me, it is an on-going experiment that makes teaching really fun.

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