Many years ago I was teaching high school English on a small island in SE Alaska. I asked the class to compare a piece of literature to the story of the Three Little Pigs. Half of the class couldn’t do the assignment because they had never heard of the story of the Three Little Pigs. That changed me forever.
Without shared experiences, learning communities often talk past each other. Inevitably there is a judgement on one side or the other. Each learner brings his/her own experiences to a conversation and uses those unique experiences to make sense of things. Coming together as a learning community to sort through what we understood from something new that is introduced to us is sometimes very frustrating because of all the different experiences brought to the table. To help with that issue in almost any learning community, you can initiate a common experience/action for all participants. When an action is experienced together, suddenly there is more justice in the conversation. The playing field is leveled and the real conversation can begin.
This is a depiction of how that process can be set up for any learning community. The condition is that the learning spiral never ends….every round goes higher, higher. The outcome is that participants almost always feel like they can act on their new knowledge and continue the learning cycle on their own.
Click HERE to access the “From Learning to Doing” resource. A slide presentation on how to create shared experience in a community to initiate actionable change.
Click HERE to access the slide show directly at prezi.com
Cindee Karns, a life-long Alaskan, is a retired middle school teacher with a master’s in Experiential Learning. She is founder/weaver of the Anchor Gardens Network, which is attempting to bring increased food security to Anchorage. She and her husband live in and steward Alaska’s only Bioshelter
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