Into the Labyrinth : A PhD Comprehensive Portfolio

Learning Experiences

"The rhizome that incorporates the multiplicities of the entirety of the individual’s history is a complex meshwork of connections that cannot be divided or reduced to its parts; rather, it is an intensive multiplicity that cannot be divided without changing its nature" (Gorodetsky & Barak, 2016, p. 87). 

     In order to understand my PhD journey, I need to examine and reflect on the learning experiences that ground it. Like the rhizome described by Gorodetsky and Barak (2016), my entire learning history is intertwined into a multiplicity. I am and learn in a complex meshwork of connections.

     In Teaching to Transgress, bell hooks (1994) posits that “teachers must be actively committed to a process of self-actualization that promotes their own well-being if they are to teach in a manner that empowers students” (1994, p. 15). For this comprehensive portfolio, self actualization is not framed by Mazlow's hierarchy or Rogers' notions of self (Geller, 1982) but rather on the conception of rhizomatically becoming (Ovens, Strom, & Garbett, 2016). My self-actualization, as grounded in my ontology and epistemology, is a rhizomatic "ongoing, iterative and generative process" (Ovens, Strom, & Garbett, 2016, p. 182) to make experiences explicit, make tacit knowledge evident, and to openly share my reflection and interpretations.

     My learning experiences while completing a capstone project for the Masters of Educational Technology (MET) at the University of British Columbia are applicable to this comprehensive portfolio since it is a similarly reflective assemblage capturing my learning (see My Reflections to learn more). My MET capstone project was completed over three months, applied a metaphor to the process and product, and was framed by Wenger, Trayner, & De Laat's (2011) conceptual framework for promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks (graphic created to encapsulate the capstone project). Embedded into this culminating project is evidence of epistemology, ontology, and reflexive practice, grounded in research by 'experts' (see The Experts in My Renovations). 

     My personal and professional learning includes a two-year retreat experience focused on the writing of Parker J. Palmer (1997). This deeply influenced who I am as a teacher and learner. As a result of this Courage to Teach experience, I discovered truths about myself as a learner. I know that I learn best in a community shaped by open conversations about reflective reading and writing. As a learner, I am comfortable learning on the edge of possibility, within complex, paradoxical, and transitional times and spaces. I am attentive to the cyclic and seasonal nature of learning, both my own and that of my students. These learning journeys have set foundational and contextual frameworks that shape, influence, and support my PhD journey into the labyrinth.

     As you venture into the labyrinth to explore my story, it may be helpful to learn some navigational tips before you begin. Please take a look at the Labyrinth Navigation page to ground your steps, since they are non-linear and may lead you to paths unknown.

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