Thursday 7 April 2011

Life Tools: Life Tools Training Through Small Groups--an experiential approach

Over 20 years ago, I was a senior manager who believed he had a collaborative management style—that was until I enrolled in one of Yaro’s subjects, Education as Social Work, at the University of Queensland. I still vividly recall the shock of participating in a group exercise within the class facilitated by Yaro, only to find out that my management style was anything but collaborative! I became an instant experiential learning convert. As my in-class group process experience attests, “What we believe we know may not be so at all.”

Non-experiential learning teaches you about the world, but you only understand it when you experience it. As my variation on an old adage says:
  • I hear, I forget; 
  • I see, I remember; 
  • I do, I understand; 
  • I practise, I can. 
Group-based learning adds another vital dimension to the experiential learning process: feedback from others. As a former colleague, Brian Hall, used to say, “What we know about ourselves is boring. What really matters is what other people say about us. We may not agree with them, but it’s worth at least reflecting on what they think about us—we may learn something.”

When it comes to human behaviour, learning and change are synonymous—without change there has been no learning. A word then about change: Change = Rapport + Information. One must firstly gain rapport with people before they will take on board what you are saying. To gain rapport with people you must develop the ability to see the world through their eyes. Only then will you understand why their values are important to them—they will intuitively sense you understand and respect theirvalues, and real rapport will emerge. Only then will they learn from the presenting information.

In his latest Book, Life Tools: Life Tools Training Through Small Groups--an experiential approach, Yaro passes on years of wisdom in the form of Life Tools for use in small groups. Enjoy the journey.

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