Thursday, September 3, 2015

"When a flower doesn't bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower." Part 2

Firstly, a HUGE thank you to Claire and Jo for commenting on my post.  

And Claire thanks so much for inspiring a follow up post. Claire you have really challenged me, inspired me and made me reflect deeply on this metaphor.  

I am sharing the comments in here to add context to part 2!

  1. Love, love, LOVE this Anne! Your questions have got me thinking as well... We have taken Sir Ken's quote "creating a climate of possibilty" (with his permission) for our vision. This metaphor you share really resonates to me... I will have to use this one with the team! Thanks!


    1. Hiya Claire,
      Thanks so much for the comment. I have spent time this weekend thinking through this quote! It really resonates in so many ways! At the end of the day today I was planting my sweet peas in pots around an arch way I want them to grow around. I thought lots about the environment... and I look forward to many sweet fragrant blooms... I also put in a lot of support, in the form of potting mix full of nutrients, watered them in well and added structures to support their growth... the more I think about the quote the more it intrigues me... Looking forward to unpacking it further and would love to see what you come up with as well.
      I love your "creating a climate of possibility"... and I hope I have done this for my sweet peas! Now to do so for my 'flowers' this week...
      Anne K
    2. I guess my only question is - do your sweet peas (my favourite/ childhood blooms) have a desire/ need to grow around that arch... How much of your plan is plant led? ;)
    3. Oooh Claire, what a great question! And by the way, I am loving the conversation and challenge...
      So, I guess a sweet pea's desire is to scramble up support, and bloom...
      "They are grown up canes, with the new shoots being regularly pinched out to promote a bushy habit and higher flower yields." To align this with learning, what do we 'pinch out' regularly?
      "the flowers appearing in midsummer and continuing for many weeks if regularly deadheaded." When do we dead head?
      "They are grown up canes", we provide the support we know they need....
      I love the fragrance and the colours. This year, unusually for me, I have gone with black, white and white with a black fringe for the colours of my sweet peas. I only hope their fragrance is strong because I grow them for their fragrance as much as their looks.
      "The plant led' part of my plan is for them to flourish in an environment that meets their needs....
      I feel a second blog post coming on....
      AK :-)
    4. Just saying.... I Love that even more - "...scramble up support and bloom!"

      I am really looking forward to that next post as I am really enjoying the possibilities that come from this metaphor!

  2. Great quote - we need to remember this every single day!


    1. Hi Jo,
      Thanks for the comment! Indeed we do need to remember this everyday. Just as each plant or flower needs it's own unique 'environment' to flourish, so do our learners. From the mix, to companion planting, to weeding, pruning, watering.... there are many great analogies here to explore.... As winter end, and spring begins, our learners, just like our flowers, move into a new season, with new possibilities, new sprouts and shoots, and colours...
      Anne K
Today as I was looking at my sweet peas, I saw that the environment wasn't what they needed.  They looked slightly windswept and flattened.  I used scraps of spouting guard to provide support for them to cling, extend and grow.  I giggled as I reflected on the lectures I sat through listening to Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development.  
If we are thinking of my sweet peas as learners, the ZPD is the support I give them, the bridge to the structure to allow them to climb freely unaided.  

How do we do this for our learners?

How do we provide the support without doing it for them?

How do we encourage them to take risks, fail, learn from failures and continue to try?

Will the sweet peas cling to the support?

Will they withstand the wind and rain as they scramble up and bloom?

I just loved Claire's challenge - I guess my only question is - do your sweet peas (my favourite/ childhood blooms) have a desire/ need to grow around that arch... How much of your plan is plant led? ;)

What is the desire of the plant?  What is their goal, aim?  And am I supporting that?

I continue to think of 'fixing the environment'... My sweet peas are withstanding four seasons in a week at the moment.  What inner resilience do our learners need to withstand chaos, uncertainty and challenge?  What of the learners who do not have this inner resilience?


  1. Oh, Anne! You've made my day! We too, have been talking about Vygotsky in recent weeks. The best thing about sweet peas in this analogy is that they just want to grow and so do most of our kids! I'll share a post with you over the weekend that you have inspired me to write :)

  2. Thanks Claire. I giggled because I never imagined in a million years that Vygotsky would stick in my mind so vividly, and be so relevant in so many ways!
    Can't wait to read your post....
    I have part three coming real soon too....