R.E.F.I.T Thoughts.....Inspiring creative and reflective thoughts
"Excellence is the best deterrent for all the negative 'isms'October 15th 2016
When you are excellent it is much harder for people's 'isms' to affect you"
When you are excellent it is much harder for people's 'isms' to affect you"
BLACK BRITISH HIGHER EDUCATION SISTERS COMMUNICATING AND COLLABORATING - INSPIRING OTHERS
I really must share this with all to firstly celebrate and share that REFITCLASS has developed and shaped my success for over 12 years..I am proud of the adventures that has and is being achieved. This blog is really a celebratory one but the start of a focus I wish to continue
I feel immensely proud of being able to refer to these high achieving black women in our British Education System as my friends. Every day I learn about their research foci, their motivations that justify their longevity and success, their immense challenges that they 'still' face (AND OVERCOME) as they walk their career path, their huge achievements thus far and most notably, their TENACIOUS inner strength.
You may already know the names that will follow and the impact they have and are having in Black British Higher Education.... if you don't...Google them and find out!
In the picture above left to right are:
Associate Professor at Kingston University: Dr Elizabeth Opara
Founder of Shades of Noir and Lecturer at University of Arts, London: Aisha Richards
Professor at Goldsmiths University: Professor Safia Heidi Mirza
Associate Dean at University of East London: Dr Marcia Wilson,
Founder of BBA and Lecturer at Bournemouth University: Dr Deborah Gabriel
MYSELF - Founder of REFITCLASS: Raona Williams
My doctoral academic interest lies within the impact of digital education and blended learning among professionals using online and offline methods. In such a globalised world, incorporating online and offline methods is redefining the art of connections and communication ... It is also an effective way to ensure we reach out to all no matter the geographical location.
Coming from a clinical background, I am a true believer in encouraging holistic wellbeing in every aspect of our lives.
As a network we are so blessed with positive achievements that shapes and inspires others around us (sometimes unbeknown to ourselves)
I attended a recent annual event of sisterhood, solidarity and self-empowerment gathering at University of Arts London that was organsised by the networks Shades of Noir and Black British Academics At the event there was a central theme of showcasing existing and upcoming developments, projects and presentations around student and staff issues linked to race and gender in Higher Education (HE) shaping transformation within higher education institutions (HEI).
It was great to be a part of the event, connecting, communicating and collaborating with all participants. It was equally wonderful to see a cross section of attendees including undergraduates, graduates, postgraduates, individuals involved in teaching in Higher education institutions (HEI's) from the UK and abroad and individuals not in HEI's but involved in HE.
We are living in a such a pivotal era for Black British Academia ...in this second decade of the 21st century, the work and achievements from pioneering Black British Professors such as Kevin Hylton, Safia Heidi Mirza, Paul Gilroy, Hakim Adi, Claudia Bernard, Audrey Osler, the late Stuart Hall, Harry Goulbourne are still fresh. There are many more of us here in the UK inspiring upcoming graduates and we must continue this work because society needs us! On a global level, Michelle Obama's speech blasting Donald Trump also beautifully demonstrated the strength and impact we 'black people' have when we communicate our thoughts, stories and ideas ....
'We' must continue to shape society in these positive ways! We MUST communicate our work others to inspire and shape the future. WE refers to 'Like minded people who care about mankind'.
June 27th 2016
B.R.A.V.E should always overcome F.E.A.R
Reflecting on this first ‘post EU referendum weekend for Britain’ and after what seems like avalanche of intimidatory and biased media reports from all over the world, I am of the feeling that some truly believe the world is going through a re-enactment of the film 28 days later where the highly contagious virus is.. F.E.A.R.
There are different ways one can view F.E.A.R. Some: Face Everything And Rise. Others: Forget Everything And Run.
I am of the mindset that is neither of these. To me F.E.A.R is False Evidence Appearing Real.
Through my learnt experience, the importance of democracy is integral to peace and whichever way you voted whether it was to leave or remain within the EU, the fact that there was the democratic right to do so has been overlooked. Instead we have had the concept of F.E.A.R manifest itself in different ways and the sentiment seems to be growing.
My position as an individual is that contributing to social justice, equality, encouraging self-empowerment and upholding democracy are akin to Maslow’s needs of existence. Our existences in life loses the ‘morality factor’ if these are not upheld.
I have been exposed to the plethora of communication portals which are like soap opera episodes of ‘breaking news’ and whether it be a digital media source, a newspaper article bulletin, TV interview, a commuter comment – I am saddened that now it seems as though Cultural Democracy is being compromised over fear and power.
Cultural Democracy is our vision for more inclusive societies where all ethnic and cultural groups can 'be active participants in the world with an equal right to the cultural, economic and political power available within society' (Aldridge, 2000:103).
Instead ‘negative fear’ and ‘abuse of power’ are morphing and rearing their heads in a way that is, sadly, not unprecedented.
My thoughts and feelings as a supporter of democracy are that ‘the decision has been made by ‘the people’ and should be tackled as such. On a positive note ‘Post-decision’ we are in exciting times where there is potential for global growth for the UK in a multitude of ways. As we loom into the second decade of the 21st century, ‘Brand’ Britain has changed from the 19th and 20th Centuries memories that are seemingly reticent. Now the Brand is not Great Britain, it is that ‘Britain is GREAT’. I read the brand of Modern Britain I am a part of is ethnically diverse, promoting of equality and diversity, comprised of creativity and opportunity. At this stage, these qualities still exist and I feel them strongly but yet, this decision no doubt has made societies feel marginalized, unequal, wondering if their creative mindset was ‘the best way forward’ and feeling like the opportunities are diminishing.
Well, no matter how much negative stimuli you are exposed to which promotes F.E.A.R – do not ever succumb to negativity. My thoughts and feelings are around a self composed and Culturally Democratic centred acronym: B.R.A.V.E – Belief Respect Attracts Valuable Environments.
I was asked the question from Dr Deborah Gabriel of a network I am proud to be affiliated with: why must we drive forward on a new agenda on social justice and equality? Part of my answer lies in my B.R.A.V.E mantra. Collaboration with networks like Black British Academics is important to add a galvanized voice in maintaining the Modern Britain that I have shaped and am a part of.
The other part of my answer of why we must drive forward? Because regression is not an option. Social justice and equality is a fundamental NEED not a desire or ‘right’. Purposeful efforts must continue to not only build and impart change and prevent those who wish to undo the great gains made by figures such as those featured on websites like http://www.100greatblackbritons.com/list.html and those quoted by Franklin and Meier (1982) to leave legacy and to inspire others to continue running with the ‘Knowledge is power’ baton.
Aldridge, Delores.(2000). On race and culture: beyond Afrocentrism, Eurocentrism to cultural democracy. Sociological Focus. 33(1):95-107.
Franklin, J.H. & Meier, A (1982) Black leaders of the twentieth century. Chicago: University of Illinois Press
May 3rd 2016
Achieiving the 'impossible'
The triumph of Leicester City and the fabulous achievement of their 5000-1 English Premier 2015/16 phenomenal victory is so inspirational that I couldn't not CELEBRATE it in my blog. As we loom into the May beginning of an eventful 2016 year I think this achievement deserves positive recognition for as long as possible - possibly the new British 1966 victory. What this football team has achieved can show us that a) you CAN achieve the impossible with positivity and vision and b) DO NOT depend on established and routine expectations - be creative, develop your inner and sound beliefs , a strong network and vision and focus on the ultimate prize around you - enjoying and loving what you do as a united team. This is the reason to respect Football - not the money, the fame and the glitz and glamour of it...just the sheer brilliance it can bring when you are a dedicated and strong collective unit that exudes sheer strength, excellent communication and beautiful desire for the game of life.
May 1st 2016
Fighting the struggles with positivity.
My post today is really invoked by the ever growing cultural rumbling occuring globally - stimulated by fear; focussing on negativity greed and power. Media commentary in the UK related to local and mayoral elections and ahead of a referendum on whether the UK should stay in Europe, there is increasing evidence of fighting struggles bringing out 'inner negativity'.
In addition, an article featured in the Boston review related to Black struggles seems to be displaying worsening fear within the USA. The article that can be found here.
When looking at our increasingly internationalised education system, there is still a serious imbalance, severe prejudices and inequalities that exist. It is a challenging 'fight' amidst ideological political, economic, cultural, racist and classist divisions - Two USA presidential terms ago there was a phrase taken from Sam Cooke that Barack Obama adopted: 'Change is gonna come'...Despite mixed sentiments and a volatile world at the moment, I believe change is already occurring and it is so important to continue the 'fight' despite the challenges. At times it seems as though situations are regressing however when we reflect as a whole, we make progress but tend to overlook our achievements and place a greater focus on the struggles.
Addressing disparity, prejudices and overcoming struggles will never be overcome if you focus on negativity.
Concentrate on the things we sometimes taken for granted, immerse yourself into a positive world to raise your inner tenacity towards what is going on in the world. Remember to celebrate your achievements, it may inspire others to 'walk tall' and celebrate theirs too. Refer to Leicester City football team and their momentous victory in the English Premier league for a great example
Fight the struggles with positivity and belief.
February 3rd 2016
The Honesty Shop :-)
The beauty of a positive learning environment and pristine moral character is illustrated perfectly with me recently coming across an ‘Honesty canteen’. This little shop is situated in a school and is open for students and staff to purchase snacks throughout the day. An honesty ‘jar’ was placed alongside a book to document your purchase. I was so pleasantly surprised by this ‘unmanned’ shop and how well it operated that I felt compelled to share it on my blog. It is a true testament to the fact that positivity and honesty is STILL real :-)
January 18th 2016
Reflectivity after a significant hiatus
Events happen, self motivation in 'the new...' takes the place of documenting the reflection...and time passes quicker than usual. However experiencing and tackling the 'new' is effective assessment of creativity, sometimes inner resilience.....and acting on what you see is the greatest challenge.
October 25th 2015
Look. Think. Try.
My mantra of the week encompassed in the poem ' Always guiding, always encouraging' (better to read from my @refitclass tweet) - A good teacher, A good person:
October 24th 2015
Natural passion for creative writing meets emerging talents in academic writing: could it be a transitionary phase?....
So my reading focus on a transatlantic long haul flight is Creswell (2013). Happy and comfortable to be revieiwing his critique of five traditional qualitative research approaches; it has opened my analytical eyes towards the wide realms of research designs. I am a creative writer by passion and default but now am developing my love for writing; being an academic writer by profession. So I reflect on how well I am using my flight time – excellently – definitely think this travelling malarkey will help me to read, blog and write my way to preparing formal academic papers but with all these time differences to contend with. …although the passion and the excitement is there…the tenacity of the brain and memory can only go so far! Delve deeper into the 30th October post on my academic blog page.
I review 'somewhat' newly discovered (or perhaps concentrating a bit more on them than before) academic words and their ‘actual function’ (all it can lead to is confusion at times…): ETHNOGRAPHY = Study of people and cultures ONTOLOGY = Study of nature and reality, PARADIGMS = world/wider view, AXIOLOGY = Study of values in society…..Aha! I think I can now see a common theme: one word encompasses a paraphrase of meaning, after all this is the basis of the English language. The deeper I immerse myself into Creswell's words, I question these words, look at the origin and transcend myself to the History of these words...
Reading this book and ideas developed during the 'Enlightenment age', reflecting and writing as a result takes me to a whole new realm of cultural aspects; what else was happening during this age? Education makes you question everything!
October 21st 2015
Back to the future of REFITClass reflection.....
First Doctorate Blog:
First EdD blog Raona Williams: what is it like starting/doing a doctorate?
Finishing the first Professional Ed D lectures/workshop series 4 days ago as a member of the new cohort and picking up on advice from my new network of aspiring doctoral research students and accomplished Doctoral lecturers I am posting this blog. I have been inspired by a post from a lecturer that I read in a discussion page from ItunesU on my new EdD iPad (what a perk!): What is it like starting/doing a doctorate?
First and foremost it is in an incredible feeling of achievement - absolutely priceless for me and off the scale of 'material wealth'. Coming from an aspirational background and living my mantra of 'always push on to the highest point in life'....don't be deterred by the 'isms' in life...I feel a phenomenal and gushing sense of success - and it's only the beginning of the course! I am a very positive 'cup is always half full' 'what doesn't break you makes you stronger' kind of person and I live the life of critical, argumentative, reflective practice. Being a creative professional leader and manager, innovating and developing and inspiring new knowledge is fundamental for me and my 'purpose' in life and I think this is what it will be like doing a doctorate! Being in a constant state of higher order thinking, researching, analysing, evaluating, creating, which no doubt may feel uncomfortable at times but will shape and develop my 'life path' in so many more ways than just my professional development! Secondly starting a doctorate has shown me how much my vocabulary will increase! The first weekend was like an episode of Countdown on a whole new level! I'm going to have to search for one of the most comprehensive digital app dictionaries I can find. But at the same time I will be making a conscious effort to simplify 'things' 'situations' and 'issues' - mainly to reduce potential increased stress levels but also to help with the concept of scaffolding and explaining my ideas. Thirdly starting the doctorate this weekend reminded me how so very important and rewarding in life it is to network, get to know, talk, share and laugh with new, like minded people! Seek and have good people around you and 'ditch' the negative naysayers! It also highlighted how, in some ways, the digital age we are living in is enhancing but it is also limiting verbal discourse. Starting this doctorate in education - a social science by its very nature; will foster (for me) an even greater desire to talk, laugh, and keep in touch with people who share a similar 'energy' not linked to 'academics' Finally, I think doing a doctorate is exciting! My journey will create a 'stamp' for those I came/come into contact with (in our huge yet tiny world) to share an aspect of what I stand for and how my 'minute' contribution in a global sense could potentially have 'one day' a colossal impact in the passage of time (told you I was a positive person...along with being a visionary lol!)
I aim blog often to reflect, develop, create, enhance, share with those minds that want to read about my thoughts in their own time, destress, invigorate, laugh in writing, and remind myself of the passion and true love I have for educating and what I believe in- after all..EVERYONE on Earth is an educator, some just decide to make it more of their life focus:) ThIs first blog post is for me (and anyone else) to look back on for that retrospective 'Back to the future - Oct 2015' analysis...especially for when the draft feedbacks, work demands, life demands, put me into that mindset of: 'Ooh no did I make the right decision starting all this!?'
So I think, starting/doing a Doctorate in Education will be like all of the above (and lots more but I am keeping my blog short) along with absolutely positive and lots of reading with active/dedicated writing! An amazing investment in your 'self' and your loved/liked ones around you.
Thursday October 6th 2015
Create with imagination, work with enthusiasm and celebrate with joy
I absolutely LOVE the field of education management - being a Head of Education is such a wonderful way to pass my valuable hours of 'work'. Two years ago when I started this page within my site, I reflected on the fact that children are the best visionaries because they have fabulous imaginations. They teach others so much and they truly do not realise it. They also have less boundaries and have the potential to fulfil their dreams easily in their younger years.
Well this is so true. With luck and great positive energy on his side it took the best child in the universe (naturally my son of course so I know there may be a 'slight' bias there) just two and half years to fulfil his dreams of being reunited with a childhood athlete idol - The one and only amazing Dame Kelly Holmes. She is an ultimate personification of a role model and an individual who never gave up, achieved so much and is still inspiring the world!
Create dreams, work towards them, recreate them and celebrate life!
London, June 2012 Doha (Qatar) February 2015
Thursday September 24th 2015
Nothing happens before the appropriate time.....
The world has become like a fast food outlet or an express checkout....everything is needed in 'minutes'. As it is my birthday today I reflect on the fact that I haven't shown evidence of my critical reflection in over a year.....I conclude with the reminder or realization that the act of 'waiting' is a skill that should be focused on more in our 'ever changing and and fast paced world'.
Imagine a world where you don't 'wait' for anything!? This is the world we are seeming to want to move towards...is this is a positive step for the greater good? I am not so sure. Okay, the world may well become more efficient, more productive and perhaps may benefit from the technological advancement of having things at your immediate availability. However, there is still something so magical about the suspense, the excitement, the appreciation, the joy, the satisfaction and the peace that waiting can bring. As I 'wait' for the five year update of my website, 'wait' to continue my journey of becoming Dr Refit Class, 'wait' as I continue to develop my brand and legacy further, 'wait' as I watch my family and friends grow and achieve their goals day, by month, by year...I am really relishing in the emotions that I experience and am not wishing for things to pass by so quickly.
Enjoy waiting.....savour every minute of your existence instead of letting seconds pass in an 'instant'.
Thursday August 28th 2014
If you are fortunate to be divergent, embrace it rather than attempting to fit in to the conformity of others
I watched the movie Divergent on the airplane towards my new unique adventure. With an underlying tone involving guns, war and a hint of world domination through mind control it was truly a very insightful film. Being different is definitely a blessing and every day I thank my creator for my unique outlook on life. My thoughts and actions are still closely connected to my 'sixth sense' and educational intuition. As we continue in a world where war and destruction is a sad and all too common reality, maintaining your education in life and following your own 'inner teacher' is definitely the way forward - reflective practice is now more critical than ever!
Don't look for happiness and peace - create it.
Saturday November 23rd 2013
'The more you teach, the more you learn about yourself'- Kenrick 'H2O' Sandy
Kenrick Sandy is a person I admire and have had the professional pleasure of working closely with as a physiotherapist. This Co-Founder and artistic director of Boy Blue Entertainment (www.boyblueent.com) is one of the top choreographers and performers in the UK commerical, urban and theatrical scenes. His quote, taken from a recent video interview by Courtney Hayles (www.CourtneyHayles.com), is so apt in today's education sector. Teachers learn sometimes so much more than their students. To be a good facilitator you have to know yourself well. Your teaching style will determine how the learner will take in their information.
Tuesday November 18th 2013
You know excellence is part of your path when more than one person, group or even genre of organisations realises your worth and calls for your expertise. If it can happen to the R.E.F.I.T Founder, you KNOW it can be passed down to whoever else is inspired by the R.E.F.I.T brand.
Entrepreneurial success lies in your hands - R.E.F.I.T works to show you how to widen your palms.
Monday November 18th 2013
A clearly created strategic vision with SMART goals and planned initiatives for a set 'modus operandi', can result in a simple and effective result....on paper.
Truly effective results comes when the visionary is able to mould and adapt their styles/habits to suit and produce the best of their team.
Saturday November 16th 2013
This is good advice to follow and is easy to read but requires a fearless nature to implement. R.E.F.I.T facilitates this through teaching styles, motivational speaking and sharing best practice.
Friday November 15th 2013
Listening to an Oprah Winfrey interview for her great new Lee Daniels film 'The Butler' has catapulting the motivation for this blog. I've been blessed to have been exposed to excellence which has shaped my life to date. R.E.F.I.T. The business name brands its founder Raona Williams.
My brand represents an entity that personifies and emulates excellence. It is time to share elements of excellence.
So the blog begins.
Inspirational people set their own race.
When they win their achievements are enthused to future leaders
Children are great visionaries because they have fabulous imaginations. They also have less boundaries and will fulfil their dreams easily in their younger years.
We must not lose this..despite the boundaries life provides us with.