I have been thinking a lot about change lately. I look at how my life has changed over the last twelve months and I’m in awe. Those closest to me know about my latest struggle, one which I have been overcoming thanks to luck, a great deal of self care and, well, change. But this change that I am talking about here is of a more primal nature. It has been happening in many inner dimensions and it has now come to a stage where it’s impacting my outer life – how I show up in the world. I want to reflect on that here because it means a lot to me. It means I am still here and I am pursuing the idea of a metaphor for learning, which I suspect is strangely connected to another metaphor – rhizomatic learning. And that’s where it all began. It’s where change began.

Learning is changing. Depending on the nature of the learning, the deeper the change. We have all heard of (or lived through) life-changing experiences, experiences in which you learn something so impactful that it alters who you are, how you show up for others. It’s a natural, evolutionary process; we are always learning, and we are always changing. To learn is to change. My Rhizo14 experience changed me, it greatly contributed to who I am today, how I view education and learning. Why? And how was it that it managed to do that? First, I had choice. In fact, I had all the choice I wanted, to participate whichever way I wanted. To engage with people the way I wanted, to share and show my reflections the way I wanted. To approach the prompts from the perspectives that made sense to me, and to me only. But also the very choice to keep engaging was a powerful drive. I kept choosing to keep engaged. So choice is the initiator and the driver of change.

My engagement came from collaborating and communicating with others. It was born of the connections, and it gave birth to connections with other people. We celebrated each other in our connections. We were curious about each other’s change process, the words, the artifacts, the play. Now it needs to be said that I was a newbie to the whole digitally connected educator ethos. My Rhizo14 fellows were already swimming in that pool with lots of confidence, but that was not a hindrance, that didn’t prevent me from feeling connected to them. I felt appreciated. The virtual company of my ideas was being appreciated. Celebration. It changes you.

So I suspect there are certain behaviors, certain actions that promote change when an educator purposefully engages. Change is driven by constant choice. Change happens in collaboration with each other (create together). Change happens in communication with each other. Connection equals collaboration + communication. And change happens in celebration of each other. I will be pursuing this idea, the articulation of these 6 C’s of BECOMING a 21st Century Educator.


  1. Mysterious opening. Like the idea of constant choice though sometimes it feels like foolishness to have a deep learning experience and then chose to question it because we all know comfort and certainty are some kind of illusion. But why not the comfort and confidence(?)–inner acceptance is NOT a bad thing!
    So maybe we aren’t strong enough learners to know we won’t cling to this new revelation? Be happy with it–get the badge and bore people to death with this learned this that won’t grow? Or maybe one revelation isn’t enough? One solution by one path with one place to end up?
    As a teacher it isn’t enough to take someone where they can demonstrate exactly what you wanted them to do. Better the tools enable their ideas to show you what you missed. The luxury of no longer teaching enables insights.
    More seriously though there’s a bit of terror in not being able to find your way back. To create a complication that’s not to be untangled by the smartness of yourself. A possibly spiritual place where all that cleverness and autonomy falls to pieces and you need to let the kindness of yourself TO yourself be the gracefulness you carry in the love you have for others that IS the foolishness of surrender to gain something more from the richness of vulnerability.
    I like the diagram of the six C’s and how the center term is change. Change can be uncomfortable but also allows us to let-go.

    Thanks for this Clarissa!

    1. Hey Scott! Love your reflections, as always. I am mulling over ways of moving ppl towards wanting to change, if that is even possible. Love having you to help me get lost and found in ideas and feelings. Warmest, C.

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