flickr image via ws_canada
I have come to understand the value of "learning from place." Taken literally it actually is learning while at, or immersed in a place. In a more representative context learning from place is a mindful, almost spiritual experience. Thinking deeply about what a place has represented to others gives us a glimpse into their experience and what their life may involved there; what they saw, felt and thought... it's a powerful experience beyond measure.
David Timony says that,
It is important that we acknowledge who we are and what we bring to the situation so we may set it aside and teach from a more neutral space. Not everything that we teach requires connection to our own lives. It does not need to be shown through our lens nor does it require a frame in order for appreciation to occur. Surely, our desire to explain and expound–to mediate through language–often reduces experiences.I have had a feeling of awe in a few places in the world, mostly close to home... places many take for granted because they are close to home. One of those places is Dry Island Buffalo Jump. Thousands of years of history have occurred at this sacred place. Aboriginal people have been going there for that long to hunt, gather and live together. I feel them when I've been there. I didn't have to explore every square inch to absorb the magnitude of the place... I just sat at the top of the jump and thought deeply about how many others had done the same thing, and what they may have thought in their place.
Learning from place. We all have our place and we can get closer to the places of others if we slow down, let go of our need to be in control, and simply listen.