Designing and Facilitating Creative Learning Activities

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Companion Booklet for the Barefoot Guide

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  • This publication was made possible by the financial contributions of:

  • A Companion Booklet to

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  • Produced byProduced byProduced byProduced by

    The Community DevelThe Community DevelThe Community DevelThe Community Developmentopmentopmentopment

    Resource Association (CDRA)Resource Association (CDRA)Resource Association (CDRA)Resource Association (CDRA)

    PSO: Capacity BuildingPSO: Capacity BuildingPSO: Capacity BuildingPSO: Capacity Building

    in Developing Countriesin Developing Countriesin Developing Countriesin Developing Countries

    Voluntary ServiceVoluntary ServiceVoluntary ServiceVoluntary Service

    Overseas (VSO)Overseas (VSO)Overseas (VSO)Overseas (VSO)

  • Contents

    Introduction ............................................................................................................... 1 A Principles of Design and Facilitation ................................................................ 3

    A.1 Include the right people .......................................................................................................... 3 A.2 Explore 'the whole elephant' ................................................................................................... 5 A.3 Work with the whole person - head, heart and feet ................................................................. 6 A.4 Appreciate and encourage diversity ....................................................................................... 7 A.5 Help people to find common ground ....................................................................................... 8 A.6 Work with left and right brains ............................................................................................... 9 A.7 Keep an eye on the real work ........................................................................................... 10

    B Key elements of learning processes .............................................................. 11 B.1 Beginning a process .............................................................................................................. 11 B.2 Future Springboard how to end a process well ................................................................. 13 B.3 Whats the point of Powerpoint? ........................................................................................... 14 B.4 Creating a learning space ..................................................................................................... 15 B.5 Seating and tables ................................................................................................................. 17 B.6 Helping people tell their stories well .................................................................................... 18 B.7 Collecting better information from a story ........................................................................... 19 B.8 Tips on asking good questions .............................................................................................. 20 B.9 Better reflections, deeper learnings and more effective action ............................................. 21 B.10 Guiding questions for the Action Learning Cycle ................................................................. 23 B.11 How to use creative and artistic activities in learning processes ......................................... 24 B.12 How to work with resistance and difficult people ............................................................ 25 B.13 Interpersonal conflict some basics tips .............................................................................. 26

    C Tips for different learning processes ............................................................. 27 C.1 Action Learning Sets ............................................................................................................. 27 C.2 Study circles .......................................................................................................................... 28 C.3 World Caf ............................................................................................................................ 29 C.4 Team building........................................................................................................................ 30 C.5 Learning from Case Studies .................................................................................................. 31 C.6 Supervision, Mentoring and Coaching ................................................................................. 32 C.7 Skills development................................................................................................................. 34 C.8 Strategic thinking, strategic conversations ........................................................................... 35 C.9 Management meetings .......................................................................................................... 36

  • Learning isn't a means to an end; it is an end in itself. Robert Heinlein

    That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way.

    Doris Lessing

    What is important is to keep learning, to enjoy challenge, and to tolerate ambiguity. In the end there are no certain answers.

    Martina Horner

    'It's not the biggest, the brightest, or the best that will survive, but those who adapt the quickest'.

    Charles Darwin

    'Our challenge. How do we create organisational coherence...how do we create structures that move with change, that are flexible and adaptive...that enable rather than constrain? How do we resolve the need for personal freedom and autonomy with organisational needs for prediction and control?'

    Margaret Wheatley

    'Creative people are uneasy about the status quo; they live on the edge of their competence. They place themselves in situations where they don't know what is going to happen. They accept confusion, uncertainty, and the higher risks of failure, as part of the process.'

    David Perkins

    'Every discovery contains an irrational element or a creative intuition'.

    Karl Popper

  • Designing and Facilitating Creative Learning Activities Page 1

    Introduction

    elcome to this Companion Booklet for the Barefoot Guide. If you are responsible in any way for learning activities in your organisation you are probably reading this to get

    some ideas of where to start or what to do. This chapter will help you. Its full of ideas and tips, but also some of the thinking that goes on behind the scenes.

    But first a few basic guidelines:

    Learning is not another activity. It is a process, a thread running through your organisation, not just unconnected events. How can you connect learning and working activities to better serve each other?

    Start small with what you have. Often making small changes to existing practices is the best way to begin.

    Dont push people to learn. You can inspire people, introduce enjoyable activities and encourage and support people in their efforts to take responsibility for their own learning, but dont force things.

    Dont look for recipes to copy. You can borrow ideas but make sure you adapt them to your situation and needs. Try to think up your own ideas and experiment with them. Above all learn to trust your own instincts to ensure that whatever learning activities you develop suit the people and the situation.

    What is in this Booklet?

    We have three windows to look through:

    Firstly some principles of designing and running organisational learning activities these are the deeper challenges (like working with diversity or including the right people) that you need to revisit again and again to make sure that your foundations are strong.

    Secondly we look at typical elements of many learning process (like how to begin a process or how to ask good questions).

    Thirdly, we describe different kinds of learning processes and events, like Case studies or strategic planning.

    Start where you like and see where that leads you. We have made the section headings extra large so you can find them easily

    W

  • Page 2 Companion Booklet to the BFG2 - www.barefootguide.org

    .

    Go to the people Live with them

    Learn from them Love them

    Start with what they know Build with what they have

    But with the best leader When the work is done

    The task is accomplished The people say:

    We have done this ourselves.

    Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher

    6th century BC

  • Designing and Facilitating Creative Learning Activities Page 3

    A Principles of Design and Facilitation

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    It was a great workshop. We came up with a new way of working. We were all excited. But the next day when we went to tell our manager he said we couldn't afford the changes. So now we are back to square one.'

    ***

    After a long workshop it became obvious to us, as programme managers, that the monitoring and evaluation team would be more effective if they were split up and based in country offices. Their relationships with the field staff would be stronger and the information richer. After the workshop, when we informed the M&E team what we had realised, they totally rejected our suggestion and are now complaining to the union.

    Whether you like it or not, whether you have the time or not, it is crucial to involve the right pe