Monday, November 7, 2016

Restricting Revision

In November, the TDSB character trait of the month is empathy. I'm feeling very empathetic towards George Lucas lately. Why?

George Lucas, creator of the insanely popular Star Wars movie franchise, is known for returning to his films to revise them. Some of the changes seem minor. Some seem monumental. George responded to his penchant for revision in this interview.

Why does he constantly go back? Early in that interview, he says that he's trying to make the best possible movie he can. It's about improvement.

Right now, I'm working on the content for a course for Teach Ontario, called "Panels, Gutters and Bubbles: An Introduction to Comics for Educators". I've fretted about this course because, like George Lucas and his projects, I want it to be the best it can be. I'm already hyper-conscious about the end product because I was less than satisfied with a a webinar I did for Teach Ontario in the past, and many people will be able to see this course. I want this course to be successful and a great opportunity for many people to learn. (Let me clarify - I want that when I teach in the classroom too, but this is a wider arena with a bigger audience and a longer lasting digital footprint.)

I'm fortunate to have a team at TVO helping me create this course - Matthew, Karen, Elina, Albert, and Katina - and they have been incredibly supportive. Other courses and work zones on Teach Ontario have been exceptional in terms of the quality of their content, the design, and the level of engagement has reflected this. Check out Makerspaces on the Spot and on a Dime by Melanie Mulcaster, Mentoring for All, facilitated by Jim Strachan, the book clubs run by Alanna King / Melissa Jensen or Mindful Facilitation, run by Peter Skillen and Brenda Sherry.

I know I'm not the only one keen to make this a fabulous learning experience. Matthew, who took video footage of me for mini-videos to be shown as part of the course has tinkered with how images appear. Even though the "final" version looked fine, Matthew returned to alter it to make it a bit clearer.

Here's Matthew during filming - he's amazing!

In the attempt to make this course the best it can, there's a danger that I spend too much time fixing things. There has to be a cut-off to my revisions. As I explained to Karen, I'll be tweaking ad nauseum if I'm not stopped! I've got to trust the team and my own efforts and let go.

Often, our students are less than thrilled with the revising and editing stages of the writing process. They may not see that it is in these moments that the learning happens, where we realize what could be improved or changed and make it happen. It may be arduous. It may be challenging. However, if I can look back on the final product afterwards and admire it (like I do with my Masters of Education capping paper, which took many curses, tears and prayers to complete), all the headaches will be worth it.

The course Panels, Gutters and Bubbles: An Introduction to Comics for Educators, begins November 21, 2016 on Teach Ontario and runs for two weeks. It will be followed in January 2017 with a book club discussion of Secret Path by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire. Register at

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your kind words. I too was very "revision-full" but perhaps I did not put as much pressure on myself as you do! Or perhaps I'm still in the "ignorance is bliss" stage? I am in the process of beginning to craft m own M.Ed project paper... ha ha...I think the pressure will be on here. You are great. Your course will be fantastically great. I can't wait to learn from you. I love the videos Matt did already. Now go buy some yarn from Michael's and make me a pair of kitty ears already. (they have a great sale on. I'm going tomorrow)