When do you get interested?

I started the last post in an attempt to talk about engagement–how we become personally invested in a topic–and ended up talking about my learning disability. The example I wanted to use was the economic turn–recession, if you will. It’s something I have known about, been affected by (got laid off) but have felt nonetheless distanced from. Part of this is that I feel like there’s nothing I can do. Another is that I don’t feel I really understand: something about mortgages, we were all borrowing more money than we ought to, paying low interest rates, and living the high life. But there’s a whole other level–the corporate stuff around the stock market and other “fake money”–that I didn’t hope to understand. I had picked the brains of a few friends, but I hadn’t found that engagement; I hadn’t found a way to FEEL it. And here comes the body-sense. The change from alienation to engagement is PHYSICAL. Sure, there’s a relevant intellectual case to be made: you could analyse my exposure to relevant information and deduce a purely pedagogical model. But I’m interested in the physical model. I felt outside of the issue–I had a few handles, but ultimately I felt I couldn’t enter into it. I read one long New Yorker article (in the bath after a Vespa ride in March, incidentally) and now I find myself reading a Star retrospective. How did this happen? Is it just a question of exposure: I’ve been liminally engaged for long enough that I am ready to enter into it on my own terms–I’ve spent long enough in the shallows and I’m confident enough to swim? I’m intrigued about this shift, because it’s something I want to encourage, to make the space for, and to be patient with, in my own students. I want them to enter into learning on their own terms.

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