Working with 20 - 30 participants willing to learn from each other?
Here is a way of blending the learning experience in a respectful way, maximising the learning for all concerned.
Make sure you have self-study materials comprising 6 different examples of: ‘challenging situations’, or ‘puzzles’ or ‘problems’ labelled A, B, C, D, E and F.
On the day
Divide the participants into six groups by issuing one 'random' playing card to each participant as they enter the room and inviting them to sit at specific tables. Make sure you have five each of 1 (A), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (use multiple packs of cards)
To ensure that each group has a unique task AND they have good reason to listen to each other, issue the materials as follows, giving some overlap of materials between the groups:
Study, Solve, Come to an Agreement…
Some groups will work twice as quickly as the average, some groups will work half as quickly as the average. Let the groups work until they have finished with at least one piece of material. Stop when at most two groups have worked with all their material. In emergencies you can issue one more piece of material to ‘early completers’.
In order to involve as many groups as soon as possible during the share session, invite the groups to share their answers, solutions and responses with the whole group following this pattern:
Invite the groups to reconvene and discuss the ‘best solution’ to their material based on the additional input from the group.
Invite each participant to write down what they need to remember for later.
When you have twenty or so people in a room and you wish for them to interact and learn from each other - here are some powerful and effective strategies
This is a low body energy, high spirit energy activity. Keep it sacred.
This is a high energy, almost combatative activity. Keep it real. Keep it civil.
Take care to alternate strategically between bringing out the similarities and bringing out the differences. Asking about similarities will build concensus, a sense of right-right, we agree, we are right, we are alright. Asking about differences will build competition and a sense of I am right / You are wrong. Let's fight about this!
Bring out the similarities.
Pause after each participant has spoken, to ask:
Bring out the differences.
Pause after each participant has spoken, to ask:
Break and rotate
After every two or three perspectives, notice which participants are over-energised, or under-energised. Break the circle turn-taking pattern to invite immediate verbal contributions of perspectives from them, "Can you give us an example of that?".
Be careful to return to the right place in the circle turn-taking to continue.
Raise the Energy
To raise the energy in the group ask the participants to (in order of increasing energy and commitment):
Leader encourages visibility by inviting the participants:
Lower the Energy
To lower the energy in the group, ask the participants to:
The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month feels auspicious enough to be setting goals for the coming year.
As a coach, I ask open-ended questions to guide people in uncovering what's next for them. Here, I answer such questions for myself, in a self-coaching session.
What is important to you?
Once all my basic food, safety and comfort needs are met... it's being part of the evolution of the education system. That's been a significant theme all my life, I am always nudging the system to wake up and take better care of the people it is supposed to serve - the teachers and the learners. The more I am involved in the education system, the more determined I become to make a difference. There's so much still to do, and so much to gain from a more evolved state. I want to see the education system evolve so that it serves higher levels of human needs.
What do you want most of all?
I would love to watch how the education caterpillar turns into a butterfly. I want to be there on the day when it happens. I want to be part of the happening. I don't know what happens after that. That is as far as I can see my life. I am drawn to that time with full curiosity and a sense of adventure. I long for it even though I sense there would be an end to something important in my life.
And what is one good step you could take in the right direction?"
They are all good steps. Any step that takes me to where I am involved with people in the education system whether it be the caterpillar state or the butterfly state. Some steps are tougher to take, I tend to take the easier route most of the time. Then I get frustrated about how long the journey is taking; and take a short cut even if it's tough.
When are you at your happiest?
Writing! You knew I was going to say that. Writing is still new for me and I am getting better and better at it. Being in the writing process is when I am the happiest. Time melts away, hours flow into each other. Not so sure about the results. When I share what I have written, I realise I need to rewrite and how much more there is to write about.
When you feel life is most meaningful, what is it that you are doing?
Talking about how teaching and learning interact; how teachers and learners interact. And how to create spaces where such interactions occur at their best.
I'm mostly involved with teenaged and adult learners but what I am doing is the same - I'm holding learning conversations. I get to see the light go on, I hear the ah-ha's, I am part of their emerging understanding. Just imagine, in a small way someone goes from not-understanding to understanding, and all I did was to ask a couple of open-ended questions, and wait. What could be better?
How can you get more of that?
For a moment I was tempted to say do more of the face-to-face learning conversations, but that would take more effort than my body can provide. There's a limit to how often I can do that. No, what's calling for my attention is to get more out of each interaction. More, as a quality, not a quantity.
So, I will get more out of each learning conversation; write them down maybe. Yes, journal the learning conversations, make a book out of them. Now that would be something I could read over and again.
What have you decided to do differently in 2019?
I am going to journal my learning conversations with teachers and learners, then make a book out of them.
Proposed Goals for 2019
Thinking about goals for 2019:
The Book Club
The playlists of the videos associated with my mission to evolve the education system, one small step at the time.
The story from the start
I am a teacher, a business-owner, a public speaker, a coach and an author.