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Catching the Right Wave | Processing the Experience - a Balancing Act

Moving Bodies >> Moving Minds

 

 Click Roger's photo to learn more about Roger and Reviewing Skills Training Roger Greenaway's interactive conference presentations and workshops are rarely provided 'off-the-shelf'.

These inputs are usually inspired by the conference theme and are carefully designed to support its purpose. On this page you will find two examples of what this can lead to!



Roger at the first national ITOL convention



At the North East Regional Conference of the Association for Experiential Education in Nova Scotia, the Conference title was 'Riding the Crest of the Wave' - which explains the surfing analogies below. It brought together two activities close to my heart - windsurfing and reviewing.

Catching the Right Wave

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What Kinds of Experiences Most Affect Participants' Learning and Development?

This question is approached from four perspectives:
  • my own
  • those of people taking part in experiential courses
  • those of trainers providing such courses
  • those of the audience
Amongst these findings it will be seen that trainers tend to overestimate:
  • the importance of exercise design
  • the significance of 'big' experiences
  • the impact of their own direct training role
Perhaps we need to listen more carefully to what learners have to say?

The address will involve participants (for short spells) as facilitators, as reflectors and as researchers.

Using insights from both youth and adult development, this 'participatory address' should be of interest to all conference participants who want to check that their learners are catching the right waves.

The two main sources for this address are my PhD thesis (1995) on the experiences of managers taking part in outdoor courses, and a research review co-authored with Jon Barrett for the UK Foundation for Outdoor Adventure (1995): Why Adventure? The Role and Value of Outdoor Adventure in Young People's Personal and Social Development.

 

Processing the Experience
- a Balancing Act      

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Balance is a key concept for both surfing and learning. The benefits of experiential learning are greatest and most apparent when "experience" and "reflection" are well matched and well balanced.

The need for balance is critical throughout the experiential learning process. This workshop actively explores this principle, with a special emphasis on developing a holistic and balanced approach to reviewing/processing the experience.

After sampling a range of methods, participants will be encouraged to assess the extent to which their current frameworks and methods are inclusive and comprehensive. For example:

  • Do they engage all learners and learning styles?
  • Are they responsive to all developmental needs?
  • Are they responsive to the whole experience?
  • Do they enable participants to learn and develop in the directions they choose?

Participants will enjoy opportunities for active experimentation with some versatile methods for developing versatile learners. Most of these methods are described in publications by the presenter Dr. Roger Greenaway.

This workshop is intended for people interested in taking a fresh look at the processing of experiences, and who wish to explore the possibilities of developing a more varied, dynamic and balanced facilitation style.

 



Roger Greenaway presented this workshop at a conference for experiential educators and trainers in Portugal.

Moving Bodies >> Moving Minds

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How physical movement can assist learning and change when reviewing.

WORKSHOP OUTLINE

Starting point: If people retreat to a 'comfort zone' during the reviewing process (e.g. by sitting in the same chair all the time) it can seem as if they are stuck in the same place - physically and mentally. Physical movement can assist mental movement.

Ideas to explore:

  • making reviewing a physical journey as well as a mental journey
  • applying the concept of the 'stretch zone' to the reviewing process itself
  • making a journey (on land or water) that supports mental reviewing processes
  • using a physical language of space and movement that reflects the language we use
    (e.g. ups and downs for emotions, standing on an issue, feeling in or out of a group, being pulled in different directions, experiencing force fields in a physical way, juggling, balancing ...)

Active experimentation:You will be encouraged to explore these and other possibilities in active ways in order to generate a physical language that intuitively makes sense to learners. This workshop is a mixture of old and new ideas, my ideas and your ideas. I would love to learn about any research or practice that helps to build this physical language.

NOTES

Space: A businessman has for many years walked his dog in the countryside as a way to recover from the stresses of work and sort out his thoughts. Restrictions on access to the countryside (during the foot and mouth disease epidemic) have been limiting his physical and mental movement. For mental space he needs physical space.

Gestures: Don't be embarrassed smiling, frowning and making gestures while talking on the phone. The other person can't see your smiles, frowns and gestures - but you think more clearly and express yourself more clearly when your mind, voice and body are working together in a co-ordinated way. Who says the other person can't see your smile anyway? Try sounding happy when you are frowning. Try sounding miserable when you are smiling.

Walking: On television news people are shown walking before we see their talking heads. News reporters are often shown walking towards the camera as they talk. Why? Perhaps we are better at taking in information from talking heads when they are on moving bodies? Perhaps it is easier for people to communicate when they are walking and talking?

Frozen: Picture a course participant sat in a chair, leaning back from the group, legs crossed, arms crossed, eyes crossed and frowning. Is there any chance that they are open to listening or open to learning?

Unfrozen: Picture another course participant, leaning forwards, on their toes, eyes and body moving to follow the conversation, head nodding, looking open and relaxed. They are clearly more engaged and more open to learning.

Body Language: Everyone can read body language. What about 'writing' body language? How can we get people to move in ways that help them communicate and learn? Can we develop physical 'languages' that improve the speed, quality and ease of communication and learning? Let's get moving!


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