Learning to belong; the emergence of another me

I feel such a sense of elation and personal achievement after having just attended and presented at a graduate conference at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. The theme of the conference was ‘Bridging Theory and Practice in Educational Research’. So what is causing this feeling of excitement?

What it comes down to, is that I just simply enjoy being in this kind of educational research environment so much. I thrive on knowing that I am part of it, that I can articulate myself just as well as others, and that what I have to say can reach other people, no matter where they might be from or what their topic of study might be. Whether it’s during the EdD summer programme in Durham, or at these conferences, I feel that another side of me is brought out, and I become the ‘educated, researcher me’, appreciated for things that no one else ever gets to see. Have I passed some kind of initiation today? Am I warmed by my sense of belonging?

These thoughts tie in well with a session I have just listened to about identity formation; to what extent does my identity shift according to the context that I am in? I have not ceased to be me during these two days, but I have lived out another me, one that I hide in other contexts of my life. Nobody is asking me to hide this self, but circumstances mean that it just simply does not exist; in school, I am a teacher – that is the role that is prescribed to me. I don’t want to appear too ‘intellectual’ and theorise too much in school, as mainly, teachers want me to be practical. I wonder whether a different self will emerge when I begin working with the students-as-researchers project? Will it be my researcher self again, or merely a fracture of this self that comes to the fore? I won’t be with adults and experts in various research areas from all walks of life, and I won’t feel the same energy of fitting into a world that I thought I would never fit into. I predict therefore that it will be a different researcher me that will emerge. I am certainly looking forward to finding out, and seeing what other sides to me are lurking in the shadows of my persona.

100-word challenge: what does it mean to be a global citizen?

For me, being a global citizen is not just something that we get to label ourselves due to the fact that we happen to live in a changing, ever-increasingly connected world. It is about being a particular way, having a particular mindset and living out our values.

It is about responsibility, participation and the motivation to create a world that is better for all of us, not just driven by individualistic goals.

Would I go as far as Oxfam in stating that one should also be ‘outraged by social injustice‘? If we don’t start there though, where do we start?