"The whole movement of life is learning" (Krishnamurti). "To be an act of knowing, then, the adult literacy process must engage the learners in the constant problematizing of their existential situations" (Freire). "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" (Douglass). "I can learn anything I have the desire to learn" (White, S.G.).

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A New Perspective on an Old Text

The optional reading this week, "I Allow Myself to FEEL Now....": Adolescent Girls' Negotiations of Embodied Knowing, the Female Body, and Literacy by Christine Woodcock was fascinating to me; especially thinking back to the beginning statement of my last blog “your weight has gone up.”  This society’s somewhat obsessive fascination with our bodies has always been a point of contention.  But the relation of literary practices to such a hot topic was one that I had never considered before taking this class.  Realizing that Woodcock is referencing adolescent girls and making valid points that cause us to consider much more than I am about bring up; a surface realization caused me to pause in my reading and begin my own writing as I came to page 359.   Woodcock at this point references Cameron (2007) and “her witness of many students in her creative writing classes gain more awareness of their bodies, lose weight, and become healthier as they simultaneously wrote in a creative, deliberate, conscious way about their emotions, experiences, and a variety of other important phenomena in their lives.”  This reference gave me a sudden change in perspective, or lens perhaps, of my own view of a text that had been handed to me many months ago.  I am (and may forever be) a member of Weight Watchers.  I have always had struggles with my weight and, after the birth of my second child; have struggled to rid myself of all of the “baby weight”. (Can you still call it that after 6 years by the way?)  So, while I may be bordering on a bit of TMI here, I thought it important to mention this because the text that I refer to is the Success Handbook by Elizabeth Josefsberg distributed to members of Weight Watchers.  The statement found on the cover introduces the text’s purpose in assisting the member in the creation of their “very own blueprint for success”.  Their support for this belief is then provided in the introduction.  Josefsberg is a Weight Watchers leader that also went through the weight loss process herself.  During that time she found that taking the time to write down and reflect on her own experiences provided her with the tools to understand what worked for her and what didn’t.  In essence it helped her to learn more about herself and her body.  On page 8 she goes on to explain that this method of reflection helps one to “learn how not to have too many indulgences or too much restriction and how to have enough activity and the right kinds of support.”  This for me connected what Cameron realized and Woodcock points out in our readings this week.  In this “handbook”, Josefsberg and Weight Watchers are attempting to aid WW members in their own collaborative style of learning perhaps.   A fascinating thought as I reconsider something that I previously overlooked.  This article has truly helped me to reconsider it and its potential in my own struggles with learning about my own body.  Perhaps it is time to pick up the text and test this theory for myself….


  1. Holly, your post underscores our readings this week and something that caught my attention. In Iddings, et al, page 8 talks about the goal of pedagogy - not as the transference of knowledge - rather as to stimulate "the willingness to know and think about one's own reality." Over the years I have often been frustrated with "formal" classes because we have so many readings that have to be covered that it is difficult to internalize what I am learning. I never really feel like I have "learned" until I have allowed for a time of incubation, a time where the texts (or events) birth knowledge in my psyche, soul, understanding or whatever you prefer to call it. Then I possess understanding. Then I know. I overcome the silence of disembodied knowing (Woodcock, 2010).

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  3. Thanks for sharing Hollly. You are right, due to this class everything we read, we now read differently. My own bias often factors in the first time I read, and I now work on stepping back and re-starting. I think my bias will always be there, but as long as we question, we learn.

  4. I agree with Susan Gale - I've done a lot of reading in the last few years that I didn't have time to incorporate into my 'self'. I do agree that while Woodcock applies the concept of writing giving writers a better self-image and helped them lose weight and become more healthy, I think we put part of ourselves in anything we write and thus become more self-aware. Becoming self-aware and listening to ourselves cannot help but create an improved self-neivornment.


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this post. Diverse opinions are welcomed.