My 12 ’emergent’ themes for yuletide

Beginning with the Winter Solstice celebration this Sunday, then enveloping Christmas, Yuletide starts with a celebration of the lengthening amount of light we experience in the day. This provides a welcome moment to reflect on the first four seasons of ‘Emergent’. A chance to illuminate the themes that have emerged over the year.

  1. Rebellion

Rebellion was clearly in the air in 2019, and long may the appetite for positive, disruptive change continue. In ‘21st pirate – rebel with a cause‘ , I welcomed an introduction to the world renowned author Sam Conniff, and his modern Pirate Code, which triggered my own social change projects. In ‘Rebel call: sustainability-based-ethics in a technological world‘ I joined forces with the ‘Gretas’ of our time, to accept the need for rebellion and disruption in a time of ecological crisis. I will report on an exciting new project in 2020 that looks to skill for positive social change within Education.

2. Challenging AI

A number of posts this year centred on the pros and cons of the exponential development of technology. Whilst no technophobe, in ‘Cyborgs Part 1: World Without Mind‘, I raised concerns over manipulation, control and unfair practice of the tech oligarchs, and to consider how we may reclaim our private authority over how we engage with the world. In response to ‘the robots are coming for our jobs‘, how we keep humans in the loop in the way education is facilitated was a topic of discussion in ‘Taking on the machines: the rise of the educator‘.

3. Applying Sustainability

This autumn in ‘Their future, our hands: new book inspires’ I celebrated the publication of ‘Applying Sustainability: Principles and Practices’ by Mr Tay Kay Luan. Excitedly editing and contributing to the book, I shared my dream of helping raise awareness on achieving UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goals. Later, after a week in Holland, I talked about the role of cultural worldview in addressing sustainability issues, sharing take-aways on time spent with the healthy, playful, smart and community-focused Dutch in ‘Going Dutch: experiencing Dutch interiority first hand’. I will continue to work to incorporate sustainable philosophies and techniques across my own professional curriculum and research.

4. Between truth and lies

Truth, lies and sustainability‘ was a popular post. The increasing paucity of online fact-based reporting, deceit, lack of clarity or plain omission of fact behind the ‘sustainability’ headlines and environmental plaudits, resonating with many.

5. The circular economy

My work to support the transition from the dominant ‘take-make-dispose’, step-by-step, linear economic model to a more regenerative weaved through my 2019. ‘Fast track to a circular economy’ captured fantastic inter-generational mappping interactions which drew on a breadth of age groups, perspectives, knowledge banks, and tenure of experience. Modelling on nature, as shared in ‘Biomimicry and becoming better beings‘, perfectly aligned to trans-disciplinarity, provided example of a growing innovative research body to address societal challenges. Harmony principles based on Complexity, Chaos Theory and Systems Thinking will continue to inform my doctoral and academic focus in 2020.

6. Entrepreneurial Learning

The ‘transformative power of entrepreneurial learning’ is set to be a major theme for 2020; the SDG and entrepreneurship agendas being complementary and mutually reinforcing. Congruent with my doctoral research on 21st century skills development, I look forward to report on how ‘EntreComp’ is a central instrument for the promotion and uptake of entrepreneurship education across Europe, helping robustly prepare learners for life beyond educational institutions.

7. 21st century super skills: Creativity & Imagination

My doctoral research progressed on the educator’s role in the development of advanced cognitive enablers (critical thinking, complex reasoning, higher order creativity, meta-cognition). This year I highlighted the importance of creativity, curiosity and imagination, sharing my own endeavours in reinvigorating these skills in myself [Embracing sandcastles: rekindling-imagination], children [ Ponder, puzzle, pose: the case for curiosity] and learners [ Nature in Education ]. The Faculty of Communication, Art & Media, at the University of Malaya-Wales also contributed creative outputs to highlight the power of visual rhetoric [Judge it, a book by its cover].

8. Critical Thinking and Questioning

Critical thinking and the ability to question are future-proofing skills. In ‘Philosophy vs google‘ I looked to promote the currency of philosophy in business, as key to supporting the methodological rigour of business research, providing different perspectives/lenses and developing critical and logical thinking. Also, in two interviews, first with Top Linkedin Voice, Dr. Jesse Martin in ‘The mind behind Socelor’ , and then the globally reknown educator, author and edublogger, Steve Wheeler, as captured in ‘The mind behind harnessing technology for learning‘ I uncovered the human principles, values and experience of two leaders of thought and practice in thinking and learning.

9. Tackling Bias

Back in April, Bustor Benson, ‘the mind behind the phenomenally popular cognitive bias codex’ shared his personal story. The inside track to the influences and experiences that led him to create the beautiful tool which synthesizes 200+ known biases into one cohesive story. Globally popular, it helps facilitate improved learner/employee self-awareness of these many decision-making influencers.

10. Coaching Culture

In ‘Coaching, and creating spaces for unlocking intrinsic responsibility and liberating talent‘ the power of coaching practice to bring hope, improve self-efficacy and resilience, and offer compassionate support to address a specific issue was celebrated. Its means to help accelerate and amplify social change will be picked up in 2020. The value of liminal space [Gwyn Thomas], a space which can push people to a transformational edge also revealed itself.

11. Research Networks & the spread of the ‘Vlog Asessment’

My spread of the message that the ‘VLOG’ has the power/agency to disrupt written discourses in some areas of business and management academia was wildly popular. Taking me out of my own comfort zone, my story of the journey of one vlog, at a time of intense grief following my Dad’s passing last year, brought me the joy of new friends and networks. Time spent at the ICDE’s 28th World Conference on Online Learning in Dublin, the country of my Dad, sharing my vlog research, was exceptionally rewarding, and brought me some peace.

12. Finally, Quiet Spaces

Purposefully, I end on a quieter note. In the summer, I wrote about my ‘golden hour’, valued outdoor space and time unplugged from the grid to be fully present in one’s life. I warmly thank the singer-songwriter, Matthew Pinder, who shared his beautiful tones with me [Unplugged in the golden hour] . Too beautiful not to revisit.

And so I conclude the snapshot of themes from four seasons of my inaugural year of blog sharing. Full list @

May I wish you all a peaceful and happy ‘sustainable’ festive period.

Warm thanks to all my contributors, interviewees, networks, colleagues, followers, learners and community, for all your support and comments across the media platforms this year.

I can’t sign off without also recognising the amazing support of my own family, husband, children, and friends, who have shared the journey with me.

I talk a lot about my Dad, and for his continued spiritual presence and inspiration, but this blog is for you Mum! You remain a source of strength and support; a guiding light in my life.


Me & my Mum in the early days

One Reply to “My 12 ’emergent’ themes for yuletide”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: