My FRAMES are changing

clem-onojeghuo-143743I’ve been wearing glasses since I was a young girl. The frames that hold the lens in place are updated every few years and, in reflection, are a time capsule through the trends in eyewear over the years. As I look back through a collection of pictures of myself, I wonder how I could have ever chosen those particular frames. What was I thinking? What influenced my decisions to pick those frames since I was ‘stuck with them’ for two or more years? Do those frames really represent who I was or what impression I was trying to make? Those frames are NOT ME nor do they determine what I see, but they do influence how others see me. My frames have an impact.

DSC05774As I end this year, I look back and see other frames that have impacted and will continue to change my perspectives over time.

  • Travel frames my perspectives. I’m returning from a six week journey through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos – the events and experiences will frame my thinking over the coming years. Anyone who travels has their frame of reference changed by travel experiences, especially if empathy, patience and open-mindedness are packed into the trip.
  • Teaching and learning frames my work. I’ve been selected as an eCampus Ontario OER Fellow – this will frame my personal and professional learning as I explore into the fields of open education, open pedagogy and open educational practices. This OER Fellowship is framed by the work of others already into OER spaces, my professional explorations into opening my teaching, and many, many, professional connections I’ve made over several years.
  • My PLN frames my engagement. I’m committed to participation in digital, media, educational literacy spaces that challenge me, provide opportunities for my students, and build connections to ideas, activities and events that shift my perspectives and structure my teaching. The spaces and places I play, learn and work are frameworks that surround me. Sometimes these frames intersect and open things up to wider vistas.

Frame (1)With this in mind, my #OneWordONT for 2018 is FRAMES. Those things that hold things up, provide structure, open views, but are never really examined. They’re just there! Where would we be without FRAMES, frameworks, frames of reference, glass frames?

As I step further into the field of open education and share my voice within various media and digital educational spaces, I’ll step back to take a closer look at the FRAMES I’m not always aware of – frames that restrict, support or surround my thinking. I’ll try to become more aware of the structures that encompass my thinking and hold up my philosophical stance. I’ll need to look beyond the door, window, lens, opening, to critically analyze the elements that are holding it up, providing the opening, keeping the space from falling apart. The more I think about FRAMES, the more I see where they impact everything – my view, perspective, opportunities, teaching, learning.

Frames can help me – they’ll hold important and critical things in place. Frames can become a stepping off point and can become a window to new perspectives. Frames can show where something stands but they don’t need to hold ideas back. Stepping through a door frame can establish new views – it’s not the door, but the frame that holds the door in place that’s important.

rawpixel-com-330228Frames can help or hinder, depending on how firmly or transparent they are created. Frames can provide a focus or eliminate the unessential. Images are framed by photographers but it’s how I frame the image that also determines what I see. Books are framed by authors but my framework structures what I read into the text. Frames are self imposed barriers or beneficial springboards for new explorations. Being aware of how frames encompass or expand my perspectives, ideas, next steps, forward motions can either lead to closing doors/windows or moving beyond the frames I see. So, this year, I’ll use FRAMES to change my viewpoint, narrow or open up my perspectives, structure my thinking and teaching. I’ll look at FRAMES for what they can do – open opportunities, open views, connect to new spaces and support where structure is needed. I’m FRAMING my framework already.

How do you see your frames? Where do frames support or restrict your thinking? Do your frames lead into the open?


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12 Responses to My FRAMES are changing

  1. lisamnoble says:

    Helen: what a terrific word choice – I always think about the lens that I bring to look at things, and the way it can be shifted- but I really like the idea of examining what the structure is around the lens. A friend is doing a master’s related to design for accessibility – structures, experiences and more. That makes me think about frames too.

    • HJ.DeWaard says:

      Thanks for your comment Lisa. I’ve been thinking about this for a few weeks now – looking forward to ‘sitting’ with this word for the coming year. Never really thought of the frames around windows, doors, lens but once I started focussing on it, they are becoming more important to my thinking.

  2. Hi Helen – Happy New Year!
    Your post really has me thinking… I often think of frames as perspectives from which a different idea can be viewed, but I haven’t thought of them as the structure holding up an idea, or as a permeable boundary we can move through (and beyond). I’m about to start back into a stack of professional reading, and I’m sure I’ll be thinking about *my* frames as I learn. Thanks for sharing this post!

    • HJ.DeWaard says:

      Thanks for commenting Heather! This shift in focus for this word came about because of the door & window frames I saw while travelling ancient sites and historical places in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos recently. So many of the frames were the only thing holding the shape/opening in place, sometimes with the frame all that was left in the crumbling pile of rubble. It made me realize how much we take frames for granted and never really see them. Yet they are structurally essential to make the opening/ item happen! Could say the same about lesson planning, classroom setup, using ed tech devices…. it’s essential to have, but you don’t necessarily see how it holds everything together until it’s not built or used right! It’s a word I’ll be able to examine deeper in the coming year.

  3. Diana Mali says:

    Hi Helen,
    Heather tweeted about your blog post and I was so taken by your word choice that I had to come and read about it. Lisa and Heather already said such great things. What I like about your word is how equity education is embedded in it so whole heartedly. There are certain frames we cannot change but I like how being aware of their existence makes us examine them. I am a het-cis white, university-educated married woman and mother living in Canada, and these frames change how I see (or don’t see) things. Please continue to tell us about these frames. (And I totally related with your glasses analogy – I used to have what my hubby now calls my “Peggy Hill” glasses, but they were fashionable at the time!)

    • HJ.DeWaard says:

      Diana, I hadn’t seen the link to equity education. Totally missed that ‘frame’ as I was thinking about this word, but after spending a year with the word ‘allyship’ it makes sense that equity would be part of this year’s thinking. Thanks for the re-frame!

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  5. I, too, appreciate your One Word: Frames. My one word this year is Story. And your post reminded me that a story is a frame, is built on our own frames of reference, and our stories must be considered and reflected on to understand our viewpoints. Our stories intertwine, and we will frame a better world if we understand our own and others’ stories. Thanks always for your wise words.

    Stories are Frames

  6. A Terrific Post Helen, there are certain frames that we are constraint by them, like grading students! Like you say we need to move beyond the frames and open our doors for ideas and next steps.

    • HJ.DeWaard says:

      Thanks Rola – yes giving grades is definitely one of the frames I’ll be looking at since it no longer provides support as needed. It’s more of a hinderance or barrier to learning for many of the students – a case where the frame fills the doorway and only leaves a narrow opening students can step through to achieve success. Happy to extend your thinking in this way! One word makes such a difference, doesn’t it.

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