Responsibility in class …

I recently facilitated a hour long session for meteorology instructors from around Europe.

The session took place part the way through a week long conference. So I had had time to get to know people, and people to get to know me a little. The session was a very open exploration of what helps students get engaged in a class room. I decided to give the group an experience of facilitation so that they would be able to see what one possible to lectures might be, and to be able to reflect openly on what keeps then engaged and learning during the process.

At the end of the session I was asked what my plan was .. I expressed it as boundary conditions:

We have till 4pm, and we will work together on something – or experiment and play.
We’ll do something on learning activities and what is possible in the class room.
Working on the issues people raise
Giving people the opportunity to reflect on a Group experience as it happens.
Giving people and experience of facilitation to reflect on.
My plan is to ask the group what they would like to work on and then see what happened next.

I was hoping that this would give an experience of engagement and some of the other issues that might be raised.

People said they enjoyed the experience and  being given the opportunity to reflect in the moment on how they were engaging and learning. It also sparked some discussion about learning in the workshop forum.

One of the areas I reflected most on after the event was what it was like letting people sit with open questions. At times I would ask people how they were doing, and some would state that they were frustrated waiting for the answer or someone to say what should happen next. The group was working it such a way that honest disclosure and feedback was possible, and happening.

Some participants noted that I was encouraging them to be responsible for what happens in the “class”, I was not taking responsibility away from them; which was quite unusual in our classrooms.

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