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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Healing as part of learning

Last week I participated in a workshop organised by the Institute of Development Studies in Brighton: "Knowledge, Learning and Change in International Development".

It was one of those events where I really felt like I learned a lot. Learning as in engaging with people and language in ways that will change my practice.

A number of my conversations were around the practicalities and politics of running workshops where community, process and trust are the drivers for learning, rather than expertise and transmission of knowledge. These workshops have messy methods where the overlaps between disciplines, researchers, practioners, consultants and organisational workers are a ubiquitous part of the whole event. Cycles of process and product, reification and participation, are how it works.

Not everyone feels comfortable with that. Where is the piece of knowledge I have come here to get? Where is the slickly presented final product? How embarrassing to see people make themselves vulnerable and get it wrong! Bring on the people who know the right answer.

During the workshop there was one word that leaped out at me and turned on the lights. It was brought up by Camilo Vila, from Columbia and doing his PhD in the Netherlands. The word was "Healing". Yes, healing is a crucial part of learning. I feel it. Among other things learning can be threatening and painful and it can squeeze and wrench at your, and a community's, identity. Does it ring bells with anyone else. I would like to think of some examples of healing. Where have I seen it integrated in the processes of learning? And I'd like to ponder more on how to integrate it into designs for learning.

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Blogger untamed-fem said...

To learn one must assume a lack of competency that is always a vulnerability spot to say the least. The more important that lack is in one's performance, the more one's ego gets injured...
The jump of learning not only heals from the present injury of assuming the incompetence, but also from the lack itself. - Training includes pouring the alchool over the wound but also blowing a bit of air to make it less painfull. Sorry, coulnd't resist the personal insight. Thanks for the image.

8/15/2006 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger bev trayner said...

yes ... untamed ... there is something important there related to vulnerability. Thanks for reminding me of that word.

8/15/2006 10:29:00 PM  

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