When we began designing and running our ‘in person’ training events, it was important to us that we did so with an indivisibility of principles.
‘In this event or design, are we engaging safely, fairly and fully?’ is one of the questions we continually reflect upon. Over time, we have adapted, modified and created learning experiences in response to our self-reflection and the feedback from participants.
While there are times when we need to share information directly, our events are not lectures where participants are passive recipients of information. Our in-person events involve participants being immersed in collaborative problem-solving experiences. They work in small groups as they learn tools and processes, engage in reflection and feedback and develop ideas about how to adapt their learning to their individual settings. The close interaction also helps to quickly generate a strong sense of community.
We summarised our challenge in the following question:
‘In an online environment, how do we facilitate active, real-time collaborative problem-solving and nurture a sense of community when participants are remotely connected?’
As the day approached, we began checking the weather apps every few hours, noting, to our dismay, the gradual change from an expected day of full sunshine to an overcast day with a high certainty of heavy rain. Astonishingly, Nash Point appeared to support its own microclimate and we were blessed with clear skies and sunshine, even though we could see rain further along the coast in both directions!
This meant that our planned reception meal – a picnic on the grass – was able to take place. Each of our limited number of guests received their personalised, individual ‘goody bag’ containing bottled water, pre-wrapped foodstuffs and a piece of ‘wedding cake’ – a Tunnocks’ Tea-Cake! A thoughtful guest supplied surprise bottles of Prosecco and No-secco! There were, however, some uninvited guests in the form of small caterpillars, who seemed to like some official guests more than others!
We are really liking the idea of this action calendar for February 2021, especially as it could be used to inspire younger learners to create their own versions.
For further information and resources, follow the link: https://www.actionforhappiness.org/february
We have been exploring Jamboard (Google Tool) and we are impressed with the possibilities that it offers in terms of online collaboration and communication.
During our initial 'play', we used our emoji check-in to create our first Jamboard template. If you use Google in your school/setting and it's useful to you, follow the link to get a copy that you can customise. (We've used a background image which seems to open better in the Chrome browser.)
We are thinking about creating further Jamboard templates for our toolkit - any thoughts, ideas or advice about this would be gratefully received. :-)
When we work on collaborative problem-solving, whether it be adults or children, one of the biggest hurdles to success is attitude. Not just our attitude towards solving the problem, but our attitude towards the people we are working with.
Building community is not always easy. Maintaining community is not always easy. Repairing community is not always easy. However, it becomes easier when we approach each other with respect instead of animosity; when we listen instead of just speak; when we empathise instead of persecute; when we include instead of isolate; and, when we are truthful instead of deceitful.
Who we are is important. Our identity, our beliefs and our values make up our sense of self. How we are is a manifestation of those beliefs and values – the way we interact with other people – our character.
If we are to build communities which are fair and safe, then character matters. It matters not only in uniting people through commonalities but also how we manage and work through our differences to make things better for everyone not just a few.
Always inspiring. Always relevant. Even more so as schools and settings return to a new academic year in 2020.
2010 - 2020
Today, we celebrate ten years of Single Steps Learning!
At the beginning of March, we were trying to decide when it would be best to take two or three days summer holiday, during July, as we prepared for a full event schedule in the academic year 2020/21.
Then coronavirus arrived and lockdown happened. Like everyone else, we had to figure out how to deal with the ‘new normal’ as our own personal circumstances dictated – different boats, same storm. For the first time in almost 10 years we were ‘off the road’ and facing a future that was, and still is, very uncertain.
In thinking about the future, we inevitably reflected on the past and what an incredible journey it has been…
We have enjoyed friendships with people, whose support and generosity has been so important to us and our survival. We have met so many inspiring people, who don’t recognise how good they are due to their genuine humility. We have had the opportunity of working with learners of all ages - being able to share in their challenges and achievements. Moreover, we have had the privilege of learning from them too.
In ten years, a lot has changed. On a professional level, we have been doing more settings-based projects than off-site training courses. On a personal level, we have climbed 17.6 Munros, and have 1760 more grey hairs between us!
What hasn’t changed is our belief that our thoughts and actions can make a positive difference to the lives of other people. For the last ten years, we have chosen to do that via Single Steps Learning by creating and designing experiences, which provoke engagement in the process of learning and building community, through collaborative problem-solving.
Whatever awaits us in the future, as Single Steps Learning or not, that belief will continue.
Thank you to everyone who has helped us, inspired us, supported us and, on occasion, challenged us. So, raise a glass (or a mug) with us tonight to celebrate! You are all part of Single Steps Learning.
Andrew and Lynne