Taking Advantage of Being “Hot”

My framing of Middle Class Standard Time includes a lot of meeting culture behaviors that have become the default setting for many groups.  Since that article continues to ripple outward through Facebook, apparently, I’m offering a few more specific alternatives that my mentors and colleagues with Training for Change have come up with. (And you can read more on TFC’s Publications page.)

These articles have tips for:

  • Using playfulness & creativity
  • Choosing meeting “rules” & procedures that promote participation by those most likely to be marginalized by middle class values
  • Rethinking our principles of education & training — even “popular education”

Taking Play Seriously by Hannah Strange 

…Unfortunately, when I use my role as a trainer to invite groups to play– through ice-breakers, games, skits or other kinesthetic activities—the opportunity is often met with groans and eye-rolling.  “What does acting like a chicken have to do with learning to be a trainer?” people grumble.  “Role plays aren’t the same as real life!” they cry.  “Can’t we just sit down and talk about it?”  “We don’t have time for this.  We need to get back to work.” I think this reflects an activist culture where playfulness is frequently sidelined.  In our frenzy to address the issues we care about, we reduce our breaks to three-minute scrambles for coffee and the bathroom… Read More

Break the Rules: How Ground Rules Can Hurt Us by Daniel Hunter

…if you plan on ground rules taking 10 minutes, you are rushing the process. Rushing makes it a ritual and reduces its meaning. It needs time for people to air concerns, clarify what’s on the list, and make an internal commitment to the items on it – or, throw items off the list. One facilitator makes individuals stand if they are in agreement, emphasizing the process as a personal pledge. If they don’t stand, then they keep facilitating until they have full agreement. Read More

Taking Stock of Taking Stack by Nico Amador 

…Active listening was discouraged by the method of taking stack in this instance because, as people waited their turn to prepare what they want to say, they were not fully present to the comments that others were making. They did not learn from what others had to say or adjust their own position based on what they were hearing. The kind of individual obsession underlying the notion of equality in this context reaffirms Western bias for individualism and individual expression. It’s a cultural statement that puts the needs of individuals ahead of the needs of a group as a whole… Read More

Letting Go of the Old Paradigm of Education by George Lakey

Direct education cuts through the fluff and pretense that distances learners from the subject. It drops unreal expectations—for example, that kinesthetic learners will somehow learn from PowerPoint presentations—and unreal assumptions—for example, that a group is simply the sum of the individuals. I call this kind of education direct because it brings focus to the encounter of teacher and group; it replaces scatter—of teacher preoccupied with curriculum and participants preoccupied with distractions—with gathered attention. Direct education takes the most direct path to the learner in the here and now. Read More

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