INDEX to reviewing.co.uk - resources for dynamic learning
HOME
 How to find your way around reviewing.co.uk
HELP

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

about experiential learning

a nice-looking rainbow line from the early days of the web
menu

Creating a Tale Worth Telling

Changing our Story

Learning Conversations

Stuck with the same story

They didn't need experts

Separation

Four Ways of Knowing

The Dilemma

Improving the Learning Climate

Freedom to Learn

Children Learn What They Live

Nelson Mandela

Ask the learner

Virtual is more real

By these methods alone

Risk

Factuality

Stories in Learning

Making and Telling New Stories

Martina's Story

Active Reviewing

In Search of Respectable Adventure

Doing Reviewing

Research in Experiential Learning

Reflections on Facilitation

menu

Creating a Tale Worth Telling

Changing our Story

Learning Conversations

Stuck with the same story

They didn't need experts

Separation

Four Ways of Knowing

The Dilemma

Freedom to Learn

Improving the Learning Climate

Children Learn What They Live

Nelson Mandela

Ask the learner

Virtual is more real

By these methods alone

Risk

Factuality

Stories in Learning

Making and Telling New Stories

Martina's Story

Active Reviewing

In Search of Respectable Adventure

Doing Reviewing

Research in Experiential Learning

Reflections on Facilitation

'Food for thought' is a collection of thought-provoking poems, stories, case studies, book extracts, research and articles about experiential learning. This page also serves as an index to some of the more thought-provoking sections of the Active Reviewing Guide. If any of these questions interest you, read on.
  • Can you really know what learners actually experience?
  • Can you design 'experiences', or can you only design 'activities'?
  • Does / should your reviewing style engage all learning styles?
  • How important is it to show an interest in the experience of reviewing as well as in the experience being reviewed?
  • What research provides useful guidance for reviewing practice?
  • Can you 'over-facilitate' or make things too easy?
  • Are you hooked on flipcharts? Are there better tools of the trade?
  • Does 'transfer of learning' describe what actually happens after a course?
  • What's missing from learning cycles?
  • Do you like the rainbow lines on this page?
  • What ideas are challenging conventional wisdom in experiential learning?
  • Do you have any thoughts on this? Or questions to add?
    Please write to me at: roger@reviewing.co.uk
[Salmon]

Creating a Tale Worth Telling

"To create a life story which is credible, which allows development as well as continuity, which tells a tale worth telling - this is the task that, as human beings, we must all attempt... we must approach our experience, and that of others, with the greatest possible imagination."

(Phillida Salmon in 'Living in Time: A New Look at Personal Development' 1985: 147)

Making and Telling New Stories (on this site) provides ideas about how you can achieve this.

[Salmon2]

Changing our story jointly with others

"To change the story of our lives must, in fact, always involve changes for other people. Because our stories must have an audience, because their themes encompass other lives besides our own, because our characters are intimately, inextricably interlinked - we cannot, as single individuals, take the story just wherever we might choose. Arbitrarily to introduce a radical new departure in your personal story is to interrupt the dance, to court the protest, or the disbelief, of others. Changes that are convincing, that can be personally lived out, can only be made jointly with others."

(Phillida Salmon in 'Living in Time: A New Look at Personal Development' 1985: 146)

[Russell]

Each story influences all the others

"Like these old pocket watches, Systems Thinking helps people combine stories (the gears) into a comprehensive model. Each story influences all the others. Each story, if changed, alters the others. Most importantly, from the person's perspective that is telling it, each story is sane. Systems Thinking provides a blameless picture of the whole problem so that it can be solved as a whole."

Lou Russell http://www.russellmartin.com

[Alice

Learning Conversations

"As much as we may exert our own individuality and even claim the victory of having achieved it, the fully independent self will always remain one step ahead of us, for contrary to our perceptions our individuality is very much shaped in relationships with others. Paradoxically, the awakening of our own individuality or the affirmation of who we are grounded in our own experiences is achieved by entering into conversation with others who in turn reinforce and acknowledge our freedom and existence as individuals. As participants ventured into the new realm of learning experience holding the tension between individuality and relationality, inside out and outside in, the learning space continued to evolve and expand."

Alice Y. Kolb, in Baker, Jensen & Kolb (2202).Conversational learning: An experiential approach to knowledge creation. Greenwood Press,forthcoming. Chapter 5. [See www.learningfromexperience.com for more of this chapter.]

Review Discussions (on this site) describes ways of improving the quality of discussions.

[scripts]

Stuck with the same story

"Each person's script beliefs provide a distorted framework for viewing self, others, and the quality of life. In order to engage in script display, individuals must discount other options; they frequently will maintain that their behavior is the "natural" or "only" way they can respond. When used socially, script displays are likely to produce interpersonal experiences that, in turn, are governed by and contribute to the reinforcement of script beliefs.

"Thus each person's script system is distorted and self reinforcing through the operation of its three interrelated and interdependent subsystems: script beliefs/feelings, script displays, and reinforcing experiences. The script system serves as a defense against awareness of past experiences, needs, and related emotions while simultaneously being a repetition of the past."

from The Process of Integrative Psychotherapy by Richard G. Erskine, Ph.D. Rebecca L. Trautmann, RN, MSW Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy New York, NY

• One way of getting unstuck is telling new stories. The need to tell new stories can occur throughout life - whenever we respond to change or make a change. See: Telling New Stories

[Adams]

They didn't need experts

"Once neighbour began meeting neighbour, they learned that many answers to their questions were available right there in Ozone. They didn't need experts. They just needed to start talking to each other."

Adams, F. (1975) Unearthing Seeds of Fire: The Idea of Highlander, Winston-Salem, NC: John F Blair, Publisher.

[Palmer]

Separation

"By separating teaching from learning, we have teachers who do not listen and students who do not talk."

based on Palmer, P. (1998) The Courage to Teach. Jossey Bass.

[Reason]

Four Ways of Knowing

"Knowing will be more valid - richer, deeper, more true to life and more useful - if these four ways of knowing are congruent with each other: if our knowing is
grounded in experience, expressed through our stories and images, understood through theories which make sense to us, and expressed in worthwhile action in our lives."

  • Experiential knowing is through direct face-to-face encounter with person, place or thing; it is knowing through empathy and resonance, and is almost impossible to put into words.
  • Presentational knowing emerges from experiential knowing, and provides its first expression through forms of imagery such as poetry and story, drawing, movement, sculpture, dance and so on.
  • Propositional knowing 'about' something, is knowing through ideas and theories, and is expressed in abstract language or mathematics.
  • Practical knowing is knowing 'how to' do something and is expressed in a skill, knack or competence.
Source: After Heron (1971) and Reason (1988)

Reason, P. (2001) 'Learning and Change Through Action Research', in Henry, J. (Ed.) Creative Management The Open University Business School in association with Sage Publications, London

[dilemma]

The Dilemma

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk rejection.
To place your dreams before the crowd is to risk ridicule.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To go forward in the face of overwhelming odds is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or love.
Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave.
He has forfeited his freedom.
Only a person who takes risks is free.

Janet Rand

In Search of Respectable Adventure (on this site) explores how risk assists growth.
[Freedom to Learn]

Freedom to Learn

“When I have been able to transform a group - and here I mean all of the members of a group, myself included - into a community of learners, then the excitement has been almost beyond belief. To free curiosity, to permit individuals to go charging off in new directions dictated by their own interests; to unleash the sense of enquiry; to open everything to questioning and exploration; to recognise that everything is in the process of change - here is an experience I can never forget.”

(Carl Rogers, 1969, Freedom to Learn)

[Improving the learning climate]

Improving the Learning Climate

Reviewing is not simply a process for extracting identifiable learning from an experience. (And reviewing is nothing like a clinical operation in which the surgeon extracts the learning from an anaesthetised patient!) Reviewing is (at it's best) a more cooperative and creative process in which participants are alive to learning opportunities and encourage and support each other's learning. In other words, effective reviewing (in a group setting) creates a community that thrives on learning while also providing tools for homing in on specific learning points.

This page (adapted from 'Playback') presents the case for this more strategic (and more empowering) use of reviewing processes.

Learning and development are more likely to happen if the learning climate is responsive to individuals' developmental needs. A number of developmental needs are listed below, together with brief examples of how reviewing can help to meet them.* we can respond to the need for ...

... BELONGINGNESS by finding out how much each individual felt part of the group during the activity, and then discussing what the group and individuals can do to increase everyone's sense of belonging to it.

... ACCEPTANCE by encouraging respect for individuals and for expression of individuality  finding the situations and methods through which each individual can readily communicate and express themselves.

... CARE AND FRIENDSHIP by encouraging group members to notice and appreciate care and friendship during activities. This can be encouraged by rounds of appreciation ("I appreciated it when you ...")

... PRAISE AND RECOGNITION by analysing group achievements in terms of who contributed what, and tracing back causal links. A round starting "I felt ignored/ unnoticed when ..." invites recognition from others.

... RESPONSIBILITY by asking individuals about what responsibilities they had during an activity, what they found easy or difficult, and what kind and level of responsibility they would like next time.

... SELF-RESPECT by asking participants to make positive statements about themselves: "My ten best points during the activity were ...". Positive, honest appraisal from the group will also add to self-respect.

... CREATIVITY by asking a group to list all the ideas that came up during the activity; using creative reviewing techniques; encouraging people to take part in devising activities and designing programmes.

... ACHIEVEMENT by celebrating achievements by repeating them, publicising them, recreating them through, art or re-enacting them through drama. Making a chart which illustrates their route to achievement.

... NEW EXPERIENCES by asking what was new, strange or different about the experience being reviewed; providing new experiences during the review itself by using a stimulating variety of reviewing methods.

By reviewing activities we show that we care about what people experience; that we value what they have to say; and that we are interested in the progress of each individual's learning and development.

But it should not just be the reviewer who demonstrates these attitudes: ideally the whole group should reflect these attitudes - especially if it is an influential peer group. Even with 'difficult' groups (which are resistant to change and learning), it is the reviewing process itself which provides one of the key strategies for influencing the group climate.

*This list of needs is drawn from the work of Maslow (1954), Lindgren (1956) and Kellmer-Pringle (1965). Similar needs have been identified by Carl Rogers (1969) as being critical needs to satisfy in order to create the "freedom to learn".

• The importance of meeting developmental needs is considered more fully in my article: In Search of Respectable Adventure

Children Learn What They Live



If
a child lives with criticism,
she learns to condemn.

If
a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.

If
a child lives with ridicule,
she learns to be shy.

If
a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilt

If
a child lives with tolerance,
she learns to be patient.

If
a child lives with encouragement,
he learns confidence.

If
a child lives with praise,
she learns to appreciate.

If
a child lives with fairness,
he learns justice.

If
a child lives with security,
she learns to have faith.

If
a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.

If
a child lives with acceptance
and friendship, he or she learns
to find love in the world.




from a poster issued by the Scottish Health Education Group
and redesigned with permission from Parents Anonymous Inc.


"Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I may not forget you."
William Arthur


Nelson Mandela


"And as we let our light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others!"


from 'A Return to Love' by Marianne Williamson, quoted by President Nelson Mandela.




Ask the learner

"Ask the learner what would improve the learning environment for them, then do it."
Judy-Arin Krupp (1985)




Virtual is more real

The Internet has been criticized for not being immediate and "real." By means of virtual reality techniques, learning online may become more "real" than learning offline. Greater possible student involvement is the reason.


Paul -the soarING- Siegel in LearningFOUNT (247)
Mon, 06 Nov 2000 LEARNING FOUNTAIN NETWORK





By these methods alone

"And what joy, think ye, did they feel after the exceedingly long and troublous ascent?- after scrambling, pulling, pushing, lifting, gasping, looking, hoping, despairing, climbing, holding on, falling off, trying, puffing, loosing, gathering, talking, stepping, grumbling, anathematising, scraping, hacking, bumping, jogging, overturning, hunting, straddling, - for know ye that by these methods alone are the most divine mysteries of the Quest revealed?"

Professor Norman Collie, Scottish Mountaineering Journal, 1894

[RISK]

RISK

Risk is a magical cliff we build -
a habit that costs us dear -
for when we walk to the edge of it
we feel a terrible fear.

We long to jump, to take the risk,
we desperately want to fly,
but deep inside an insidious voice
insists that we may die.

Despite the voice, if we take the step
from one of those rocky towers
we realise, as we plummet down,
that the choice to fly is ours.

We can spread our wings at any time,
we can spread them anywhere,
for the only reason we cannot fly
is because we will not dare!


F Ashton (Rev. March 1994)

'Risk' is published at Clearwater and is reproduced here with Frank Ashton's permission.

[FACTUALITY]

FACTUALITY

The consequences of my acts,
you might collect as proven facts
yet proof is an elusive notion
divorcing time and place and every motion
from meanings, and intuitive leaps,
from shadowed, hidden unknown deeps
and always will the facts belie
the sensing, feeling, inner eye
that tells no stranger what it learns
but tells, perhaps, for what it yearns.
F Ashton 1994 (Rev. March 1998)

'Factuality' is published at Clearwater and is reproduced here with Frank Ashton's permission.

RAINBOW LINE

MODELS OF EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

If you have an appetite for even more 'food for thought' you might also enjoy feasting on one of the most popular pages on this site that explores experiential learning theory.


Active Reviewing Tips is a free monthly email newsletter containing tips, links and short articles about reviewing. To learn more about this popular ezine - and how to get your free subscription - see this brief description.

 INDEX to reviewing.co.uk - resources for dynamic learning
HOME
 How to find your way around reviewing.co.uk
HELP
Copyright Roger Greenaway, Reviewing Skills Training, who promotes ACTIVE LEARNING via
TRAINING EVENTS, CONSULTANCY, HANDBOOKS, RESEARCH, CONFERENCES, and EZINES
UP TO TOP