We spend a great deal of time discussing with our students what we want them to know and be able to do from whatever experience we are providing them, regardless of whether it is a course, a workshop, or an out-of-class experience. We spend less time inviting them into a dialogue that paints an experiential picture of their optimal environment for learning and development. As such, this is an opportunity to engage in a process where you and the students you serve co-create the ways of how they want to be in their learning and development experiences.
The co-creation of this environment can be done in several ways, the most important point is to make sure everyone has an opportunity to contribute to identifying how they would like to be or show up within an optimal learning and development environment via note cards, post-it notes, anonymous online surveys, photos, or word doodles prior to inviting the students to discuss the words and concepts, grouping them, re-labeling, or further characterizing concepts before crafting a statement that will guide their intentions for holding space for each other’s learning exploration in alignment with their values and goals for their learning. Here are a few ideas that you may want to toss into the learning and development co-creation process to get the dialogue started.
- Engage/ do the work to the best of your ability from where you are and with the resources you have, knowing that your best will look differently from moment to moment
- Honor confidentiality; hold another’s narrative with reverence for their human dignity
- Embody curiosity, which includes observing and objectively noticing while suspending immediate judgement
- Offer compassion/kindness/grace to self and others
- Avoid “fixing”
- Avoid “Doing it Right” or “Striving”
- Use ”I” language so that others have space to speak to their experiences
- Avoid shaming and blaming
- The next moment is a new moment and a new opportunity for a new choice
- Give yourself permission to take care of you at all times
- Courageously ask questions and share comments, while inquiring into how your social context, historical social forces, and global perspectives are shaping what you are seeing, hearing, and asking