Building relationships

The challenge that came with presenting after weeks, if not almost a month of class cancellations due to the #feesmustfall movement was quite tiring, however, it was for a valid reason.  Because of the disruptions, our team was given the option of either presenting, or postponing the presentation till next year. Initially I thought “yay, no need to stress!!” then majority voted to present, and I had to be a team player. To my surprise, I felt uncomfortable presenting, which was ironic, as I have done countless presentations in my life. When the moment of truth arrived, I decided to speak from the heart, and leave the notes I had written, and the format thereof.  After my section, I had my Aha moment, and what was even more pleasant, was that as a team, we did not have “delta” from the class, which was refreshing and never done before 🙂 I also realised that all the good presentations we had in class, were from individuals who spoke from the heart , and did not try hard to present topics in a way that did not feel real and  resonate with who they are. I also thoroughly enjoyed the last section of the presentation, when my group mate was explaining how he got in touch with “self”, and the outcome thereof.

Meaningful Conversation

The topic on Meaningful Conversations was enlightening as to how conversations (dialogues) actually start. “Dialogues have their own rhythm and pace”, words from the facilitator. The dialogue we held on #feesmustfall was perfectly aligned with meaningful conversations, in a sense that different views were given in a cohesive and constructive manner. All students agreed the movement has substance and validity, however, some felt the way protesters go about it is wrong. The four stages of team cohesion, forming, storming, norming, performing and reforming, played out during the dialogue, as  initially we all agreed that the fees movement was a valid outcry from students (forming), but as the conversation advanced, different opinions emerged (storming), and everyone felt their opinion had more validity, till the dialogue got intense, and the facilitator “reformed” it, albeit it was at its peak, when she stopped it. The learning I took from the experience was that it’s important to listen and respect other people’s views, whether one agrees with them or not. It brought me to the realisation that sometimes as individuals we can be myopic in our views, and “insist” we are more correct and valid in our views and perceptions of public discourses. Another part of the dialogue that resonated with me was when one of the students posed a question to the class: “on a scale of selfishness and empathy, how would you rate yourself?” The entire class was quiet, and am sure not only myself but my fellow students were left with a big question mark in their minds!