Using the FISh model (Nerantzi & Uhlin, 2012) , the group navigated through the stages of Focus, Investigate, and Share to explore the topic of digital literacy. The result is a mandala diagram representing the themes and guiding questions which emerged from the group.
Perception of the FISh model developed throughout group work. Although the FISh model from the literature initially appeared linear, the experience of participating in group work using the FISh model illuminated the path from eye to underbelly to fin to dorsal in an iterative manner. Students in the group came to the discussion in various stages of understanding which led to exploration of focus, investigation, and sharing rising in conversation.
As students did not verbalize their understanding of the FISh diagram, the interpretation of its’ nature was left open to each individual. Each student came to the group with different expectations of the process (linear, iterative, etc). This variety resulted in rich discussion and learning which may not have naturally risen if the model was deconstructed in advance, or, if the meaning of the groups’ conduct were announced.
A linear portrait of the students’ progress through learning can be broken down into four stages spanning two distinct categories: (a) questions and inquiry and (b) group dynamics and mediations.
Conducted over four group meetings, the tipping point from (a) Inquiry into (b) Group Dynamics and Mediation became apparent in meeting 3 and decidedly shifted in the fourth meeting.
The process in which the group navigated to move through FISh, Inquiry, and Group Dynamics/Mediation were documented during the process of co-designing a diagram which the group modelled after the traditional mandala.
Although not explicitly discussed in the group, mandalas are fond as both reflective, spiritual practices and teaching strategies in Eastern philosophy, group process, self-awareness, and Jungian Therapy (Marshall, 2003).
Teaching mandalas are described as symbolic, supporting students through inquiry and ‘disambiguation’ with each shape, line, and color representing a different aspect of a philosophical or religious system. The student creates his or her own mandala based on principles of design and construction, projecting a visual symbolization of everything they have learned.
The concept of the mandala as a teaching tool is evident in writings of The Rig Veda in World History Encyclopedia. It is asserted that The Rig Veda is in fact a series of mandalas leading the reader from the outer rim of understanding toward the centre of meaning.
The Rig Veda is a writing within the Vedas; knowledge came to be regarded as shruti (“what is heard”) and retained in oral form until it was set down in writing as the Vedas during the Vedic Period (c. 1500 – c. 500 BCE), with the Rig Veda thought to have been written first.
The mandalas in The Rig Veda are books, not visual artistic representations. The sphere-like inward movement from a wider understanding to a central meaning is analogous to the pectoral mandala commonly known today.
Marshall, M. C. (2003). Creative Learning: The Mandala as Teaching Exercise. Journal of Nursing Education, 42(11), 517–519.
Topic 1 Submission, PBL Team 12 Presentation- https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ldYzChn4D0IrRdA_0m9rQNv990zr0-pWIVEEbP4AuP0/edit#slide=id.g2b0584c22840df0d_205