Learning is unpredictable…

Home Practice


Interim Assistant Artistic Director Tom Goodwin reflects on the process of designing Home Practice and the flexibility of learning…

A photo of Tom Goodwin, kneeling on a wooden floor writing on a big whiteboard.

ID: A photo of Tom Goodwin, kneeling on a wooden floor writing on a big whiteboard.

Reflections on the process of designing Home Practice…

Home practice

home learning

independent learning

self-directed learning

learning what you want and when you want

learning something outside of the institution

learning that isn’t institutionalised

learning without gatekeepers

non-linear learning

subtle learning

step-by-step learning

learning off your own back

learning about your own agency

learning about your own learning capabilities

learning about how I learn

learning about myself

These are some of the things I think about when I think about Home Practice – the programme we will launch at the end of August. It’s also what I think about when I reflect on our journey so far during lockdown and the beginning of the long journey out of it.

I was speaking with a friend last weekend and we talked about whether learning could be more direct, more effective – outside ‘the institution’. Could learning be more flexible that way – flexible enough to meet all of our unique learning styles and desires? Perhaps with more flexibility we could more easily move towards the learning we want or need. I think learning online definitely contributes to this.

Perhaps we can never plan the perfect learning programme, because there is also something significant about the lessons we had never thought of… the instances where we enter into a learning space and we come away with something beyond our expectations… the real eye-openers that we may not have even imagined – the surprises – both big and small – loud and subtle. How do we give space for that kind of unpredictable learning?

…That’s where mixing with others feels important – meeting those with different experiences, with different backgrounds and stories. In Taoist and Buddhist writing ‘The ten thousand things’ refers to the diversity of the universe. In terms of learning, there are easily ten thousand styles and kinds of lesson and learning.

I’ve found that even in our small Home Practice planning group, there are so many approaches between us. And what I appreciate at Stopgap is the willingness to recognise we collectively have multiple points of view, there are many ways to do anything – and it’s important to give space and value to them all.

So perhaps we can never fit everything into Home Practice, but I think the contribution it will make to the wider educational world is super important. Inclusive practice needs more exposure to help loosen fixed modes of and pathways in learning.

We’re opening up the learning box and a lot is coming out! How will we ever fit it all into the year of the Home Practice classes that we’ve committed to delivering!?

Read part one of our Home Practice series with Artistic Director Lucy Bennett below: