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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Learning Via Exploring

Sharing my passion for music with others in an educational setting is a blast. Teaching cultural competence helps make the world shine a little brighter. Spending time with people who want to do the work it takes to be more culturally competent helps prevent cynicism from overwhelming me.


Until a good friend recently asked me to co-facilitate a cultural competence workshop with him, I'd never heard of the New Jersey Victim Assistance Academy. A visit to their website gave me a glimpse of the scope of their mission but little idea of what to expect from the participants who would attend training. In my head, I began going through a model I was first exposed to in my early years doing adult education. Would any of the participants be prisoners, i.e. told to attend the workshop and unhappy having been told so? Would any of them be vacationers, i.e. told or not told to be there but in either case likely to treat the educational experience as mostly a day away from their regular work routine? How many of the participants might be explorers, i.e. told or not told to be there but willing to be present enough to do the activities as well as examine the material being presented?

It was clear early on - mandatory training or not - that this group had a healthy mix of all three. From there, it was up to the two of us to ensure no explorer became a vacationer or prisoner. And, if we tuned in well, maybe we could enlist some prisoners or vacationers to explore a bit, for however long we could positively engage them. Not an easy task but not much that's worthwhile doing is real easy, right?

Thanks again, Robin, for trusting me enough to let me do this important work at your side.


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