Category Archives: Past Blogs

Facilitating Decisions

Week 13 12 October 2019

The weekend our group facilitated, decisions. It went extremely well. I liked my group because we all accommodated each, we chose tasks according to everyone’s strength. What I have learned during this facilitation is that decisions are to be taken, analysing and concluding what might be the result prohibit people from taking decisions. The build up to this Saturday was a nightmare for me, I was overthinking my part in facilitation, thinking of the worst that could happen tripping and falling in front of class.

Feedback session

Roslyn made a point by saying that we tend to make wrong assumptions and end up believing them. She also touched on a very sensitive reality the Amygdala hijack I go through that but lately i can take control and be aware of the action to myself and others. I have built a strong relationship with my group mates; I totally respect. I will forever be grateful to the opportunity of being part of the class.

#Facilitating Decisions

Thank you, Roslyn and Telfer everything happens for reason. Finally, my group (Facilitating Decisions) presented and everything went according to plan. We all where in form and had substance on our topic. What I took from this presentation is gut decision are always right. Since class I have started small as using my gut feeling of avoiding routes that lead to traffic and I have been right with making those decisions. Rosyln touched on Adrian’s incident and she explained how the human brain function and what might have lead Ms. Adrian to utter unpleasant words to the class. To Adrians’ defense, students where irresponsible by not respecting her while she spoke in from the class. They expect to be respected but they don’t show respect to others.

Resolving Conflicts

Conflict is something that is unavoidable and we experience it  almost every day in our lives, whether in our personal lives or professional. We all had our fair share of it.

A lot can be said about it, hence there are conflict management courses.

I think respect is the foundation here. Conflicts can be healthy as long as the attitude is right, as long as all parties involved want to reach the common goal and nobody dominates anyone.

During this facilitation course we were taught that everyone is right, and that principle will work best during conflicts.

Even thought conflicts brings out lots of emotion:

  • Frustrations
  • Anger

A lot can be learned from conflicts:

  • Self awareness
  • Your view is not always the best view
  • You learn to listen
  • Compromise
  • Better decision making

 

Honouring the Differences

Well :-), this week brought a huge smile to my face because my group was facilitating.

Before I start talking about my experience, I would like to introduce you to my AWESOME Group:

From Left: Jerry, Mbali, (Me) Lebo, Mulalo, Mpumi, Gugu and bottom is Lucky. Unfortunately we missing Thabang in the picture.

I guess the picture says it all.

We were honouring different cultures. We decided to bring a little bit of twist to it, by having each member of the group introduce and represent their own culture while wearing a different traditional attire.

Being afforded the opportunity to facilitate and putting things that I have learned into practice really opened me up to the  reality of what facilitation is all about. I truly fell in love with the course.

 

 

 

Social Media / Managing situations

The 2nd week was much calmer as things were in place and most importantly there was order.

The first group facilitated on the “Social Media”, and they did quite well. They focused on Pintrest and I learned a few things from their facilitation.

Roslyn unpacked the topic “Managing Situations” and she focused on:

The Check In: What I took out of this, is the genuineness that goes with it. It also helps with knowing how interested people are in ones life.

Setting expectations: I learned a lot from this one. I had to make decisions while in class to avoid assumptions and being disappointed. I also learned to ask people what they understand or  expect from me.

Principles of engagements:(I loved this one). This changed the way I view communication altogether mainly because I used to be too casual when I engage with people. Now I am more intentional, mindful, open minded and sometime curious without stepping the boundaries. I am grateful to Roslyn for recommending “Leadership in the new Science book By Wheatley, Margaret J

Building safe environment: This one really did set me free hahahahaha. I am effectively using the law of two feet. I am now learning to be at peace with a lot of things and I no longer force things or people just so that I can have my way. I adopted the principles/ conditions for creating an open space (Whoever comes are the right people, Whatever happens is the only thing that could have, Whenever it starts is the right time and When it’s over, it’s over) “Riding the tiger by Owen Harrison“.

The stretch-zone: This one is a wakeup call to step out of the comfort zone.

The balcony and the dance: Here you have to step out of the balcony into the dance floor to get the hang of things.

I would and am going to use these principles and lessons in my Marriage, family, relationships and business.

I was truly looking forward to the next class :-)..

 

 

 

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!

 

Action Learning Blog 4

Action Learning Blog 4

 

On this week’s lecture we had a group presenting a topic on honoring differences.  The tools and techniques used to project their message were casting play and music. What was quite evident with this topic was enormous attachment that people exhibit about their culture and how much is identity a pillar of strength for them.

 

This brought back the group dynamics experience. I recall that in my group we initially had a problem dealing with the way we will approach our topic and how to present it. It was very clear that we had different perspective as individual members of the group.  This was precisely because we have different experiences informing our different approaches and at the end of the day in one of our meeting we were uncertain about the way forward and could not take decision on the matter. This was a clear case of embracing differences.

 

In normal group situations including my team I could see three dimensions of disclosure always visible. The public or visible arena became clear.  I recall that in one of the group meeting at work there was a gentlemen who approached things differently, he wanted to be dominant in the group because he wanted to be seen as having leadership skills. He could not take other people’s point of view but only his own. During tea break I spoke to him trying to understand his intentions about dominating the discussions and not allowing other people’s point of view to be heard. He could not give me a straight forward answer.  When we were doing group feed backs, he volunteered and provided a feedback for our group at the end he said that all the ideas he presented were his and that he has been guiding our group in the discussion. This angered members of our group.

 

The private and hidden arena is another dynamic of the group discussions.  This is exposed when some members of the group are quite in the discussion.  They hold back to their thoughts and feelings about the matter at hand. This sometimes happens, especially, when you meet new people in a group to solve a particular problem.  You tend to think that sometimes my experience will not be necessary in this group.  This is so because you sometimes think that your beliefs, assumptions and experiences are not required by your group because they have enough information to make a decision.

 

Regarding the unconscious arena or blind spot, it only becomes evident to me when someone in a group speak ill on the matter of personal attachment.  When that happens, I normally recall lots of unpleasant experience that raises my emotions. This clearly indicates that there are some issues that are still not healed.  This will put me in a particular situation that makes me have deep thoughts about my experiences.

 

The Johari Window is one of the excellent tools that make an individual to reflect back or basically conduct self assessment.  This is very true because when you meet people and you have a general discussion about general matters affecting our society you will only get a similar response.  But when you get deeper on matters relating to your personal staff, the person you talk to is likely to give you advice on the same matter based on his/her experience or someone’s experience known to him or her.  I was once a new learner in a new school. When I entered classroom I greeted the teacher and the same by the teacher.  When it was lunch time I sat alone and decided to try make friends with other learners.  During the development of our friendship we began to release more information about our experiences and as a result we began to know each other very well.  My friend could tell me about things that I’m not capable of doing and interestingly I had always thought that I was capable of doing them.  And I realised that there are certain aspect of myself that I needed to address in order for me to grow.

 

During this class I learnt a lot from our lecturer who advised us to be always open minded about issues. She told us that it is very important to communicate well and back up your communication with data. I also learnt from her that assumptions are neutral, they might be true or false I need to find evidence to be able to make conclusions. She indicated that the best method for dealing with large group in facilitation is to create a shell layer.  It is not the best to point at people for answering questions, if you single out people you embarrass them. It is best to ask for volunteers when you need some one to answer question especially for the answer that could possibly be known by everyone.

George

My ways of doing things are not the standard universal way of doing things

This week I learned that learning is not learning until you apply it…that learning never takes place when your mindset is not willing to change…that if I manage transition change will happen.

I learned about learning styles and brain dominance pattern. That morning before I came to class I had a huge fight with husband about him not honouring his promise and him being casual about it. He thought I was being unreasonable and emotional about it, I thought he was being a complete cow and insensitive about it. After learning and understanding which side of his brain is more dominant and which side of mine is helped me understand why we are such opposites. I sat there listening to Roslyn describe me and my husband like she knew us personally simply by explaining how left and right brain dominance works. Lots of things fell into place and I got to understand a lot of “why’s” in his behavior and the manner in which he handles situations. Learning about brain dominance made me more understanding and helped me see things from his point of view, I had to do a lot of instrospection and see what changes in my behaviour will bring about good in my relationships with others. This is helping us in finding our rhythm and striking a balance as a couple. What a revelation!!!

Great start…a journey to self discovery

I registered facilitation not knowing what to expect. For me it was all about adding more points so that I graduate in my set record time. My first week of attendance I felt a bit all over the place because the class was not as formal and structured like my other “lectures”. I soon learned that it’s not a lecture but “facilitation”….big difference. I must say I almost didn’t go back when I heard at some point I will have to present in front of the whole class, but I realised staying will benefit me a great deal as comfortable as it felt. It was time for me to get out of my comfort zone and allow myself to learn and grow. I normally hide behind people and refuse to speak in public, but On my first week of attending facilitation I stood up and spoke, and I must say,  it felt pretty good. I think we are Off to a great start.

The cosmic classroom

My mother always said that the universe constantly reflects what we need to learn. I never listened or gave it much thought, until recently.

Its taken me a while to write this modules blog. Not because I’ve fallen into my usual style of procrastination, but rather to coin a phrase used often in class, “avoid the elephant in the room”. So thank you to the previous brave blogger for mentioning what has been center stage in my yet to be freed mind the past two weeks. The student protests, a raw example of people not listening and people not being heard. Ah! Lesson learnt you might cry, but there is more….

My daughter bit my head off the other morning. It came from nowhere. The encounter was brief, yet caustic and it left me reeling in a wake of destruction. Never under estimate the stealth and accuracy of a 16 year old with something to say. When I enquired whether she thought that was an effective way of communicating she retorted by saying, “you never listen anyway”! Imagine my dismay. I thought I had a handle on this facilitation stuff…

She also says I exaggerate. Me? Never!

PS:

To the universe:

WHY.. OH.. WHY do we have to be the group to follow group 9 and their dynamic presentation on “freeing the mind”?

Reply from the universe:

Take a deep breath in and bring to mind an image of endless rolling fields of green…

Oh yes… and don’t forget to breathe out!

Listening…an attitude

Today was actually quite an amazing “lecture” and I put this word in inverted commas, because this class is one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had in life. It is not like any other lecture I’ve had in my time at Wits, in fact it is not like a lecture.

Ok, now back to listening…

So today when we paired up in groups of two doing the learning exercise, something amazing happened. Just as Ros said it should be and made it out to be. You know when you listen you actually hear so much more, without interrupting the next person trying to know their problems better than they do. So, I paired with a man who was way older than me. I estimate a 15 year difference between us and I was really not too happy about this, because I also did not know him at all. I always decide whom I share my personal life with and who I let in, but I’ve come to truly learn the true meaning of listening through this. Well, I wasn’t going to start sharing my business with him though he was willing to and so went first. I just had to hear what he was going to say so I could get the importance behind the exercise and so decided that I am going to listen attentively and be completely blank. I think I was also very reluctant in the beginning, because I had to do this with a male person and we know how “tough” and “macho” they like to act and as a result of this assumption I did not think we would really get the importance, because he might not be willing to open up to a little girl and I am very shy.

BUT, this man immediately started telling me about things that were very very personal. I was so shocked. I decided to just stay calm and listen and allow him to let me in. And this would have only happened as it was a two-way thing. It was beautiful what had happened and I can honestly still not believe what I had heard. The man is actually a hero in my eyes, even though he felt that he has lived his life from end to beginning which completely screwed him. But I think he has achieved much and wish he could only see himself the way I did from what I have heard.

I believe that is how our relationship started…

 

Improving relationships with others- factual communication is key

10 September 2016

Today we learned of the importance of factual feedback. And this would be something like “it upsets me when you come back home late”, instead of “it upsets me when you act disrespectfully” after your child arrived after curfew. This I have learned is very important, since we do not always know people’s motives for doing certain things. Your child could have arrived after dinner, because he/ she may have been injured on the way back home or even with our spouses’ behaviours. I always say things like these to my partner which always hurts him and I end up looking like a fool, because it is never true and so I am honestly willing to try using factual information rather than making up my own assumptions. It is quite true what Ros said during class; what we cannot see is not factual, for instance other people’s motives and feelings, etc. what we see (verbs- doing word) are facts.

The decision spiral followed after this which has taught us that making assumptions is not always as bad as we might think. I had to discard of the “Assumptions make an ass of u and me” “principle” as certain situations through logic can be interpreted as they really are.

Bottom line of today’s lessons: factual feedback helps build relationships by only speaking of what you see and not adding what is unseen and is most probably never true. Assumptions are necessary
to a certain extent…

I’m just wondering as I’m writing here of what will come of this. Cannot wait to actually try it out, though I feel it is just going to be tough 😀

Seeing with new eyes

A job well down to this group. I really loved the pictures they gave us especially the one i thought looked like Jesus while others thought it was sheep, houses or trees.

Its fascinating how we see different things but at the same time we were all correct. It is only when you take a closer look that you begin to see what someone else sees. This is what happens sometimes in life , we go about so stuck up in our point of views that mentally we block ourselves from taking that extra look and hopefully learn something new.

From the presentation, i have learnt that if you want to learn more about yourself and other people always allow yourself to see with new eyes. When you know everything you refuse your brain to learn anything else new. As Ros once said “At high school they feed you information which you just have to offload on examination day (paraphrased) so your brain is still in the comfort zone. But when you come to a facilitation class your brain is stretched and it explores different angles. Its not always about having just the right answer to a question , its also the possibility that they maybe many answers to that same question if you choose to explore them.

Failing Forward ….hmmmm

The fear of failing has always kept me in my comfort zone.Who would have thought that you fail “forward”. Clearly i have a long way to go because my mind has been so caught up in thinking that failure is going backwards.Like wasting time. But in this class i have come to realise that not taking risks is actually far worse. I am so used to playing it safe and knowing i am in control of every situation that i have not allowed myself to try new things or explore what life has to offer. I am so worried about my security and future that sometimes i limit my dreams.

Just because i tried something once and it did not work out , i just gave up. But now i am beginning to learn that in everything there is a season and a time and that when you think you failed sometimes it just means get up and do better. Rejection is not the end of the world, when you have a dream keep persevering until you live it.Fail forward.It is painful because i am my biggest critique but baby steps…

I will not be hard on myself anymore (that is i will try), but all the times i have wasted beating myself up about it instead of strategising was actually the real failure. My biggest lesson now is that i can not control everything but i can chose how i behave or respond when things seem to be falling apart or not going according to my perfect plan.

Failing forward – a real life lesson

The group presentation on failing forward is one that has stuck in my mind for weeks and I was lucky to find real life evidence of how failing forward can actually happen, and surprise you.

I went on a work trip where I visited a lodge in Northern KZN where we met a spectacular tour guide called Gibson. He looks about 50-years-old, but is actually 67 and very reluctant to retire. Gibson Mkhize grew up in a village that is now located in the isiMangaliso National Park and when he left school he went off to work as a petrol attendant in Germiston. His plan was to make enough money to be able to help his village, but after years of working in Gauteng he returned with very little after being retrenched.

img_5219

“I failed dismally,” he told us.

But he actually hadn’t. At over 50, he started a new career as a tour guide and it turned out this was his true calling. Through the people he met on tours he was able to help build a new school, get books and bags for the kids and has gotten many young locals employed at the lodge. Gibson is the best real-life example of someone failing forward. He also showed me that it is never too late to start over!

UBUNTU – umuntu ngu muntu nga bantu! honouring the difference

Honouring the difference – 13 August 2016

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I really enjoyed this week’s group presentation!

What was my biggest AHA?

I realized how important it is and crucially beneficial that I am not only aware of the role I play in society and how who I choose to be affects the people around me that may be positively or negatively. Knowing me helps me to know you better. Once I am comfortable in my own skin.

What questions do I still have?

I would like to know how I can use these tools effectively in my family. Everything that I am learning is for my “betterment”, I would like my close friends and family to also experience this. So that we call all live together in perfect harmony.

Finally the Song! so look to your left say how do you do.. look to your right… #singing

Daydream

I spent the last ten years wondering if I’d ever be able to get a degree, not even on the field that I love or the one that I think it matches my interests, that’s a luxury I can’t afford anymore, no one would imagine how short were those ten years.

I had to carry on with my life, got a job..and another, got married, got a beautiful child..and I’m always thankful for what I’m given. at work, I’m very skilled, reliable, but there was something missing, I’ve been always daydreaming  and picturing myself with all of what I’m doing, having my degree and, the knowledge that I could’ve accumulated if I got my degree earlier, a better and refined version of me.

That was enough to encourage me to search for a university could accommodate me and, compliment my life pattern, that has taken more than I thought, finely, I found it, Wits is really far, but I’ve got no other options, and I was afraid that I’d get bored and lazy at some stage and mess it up, and then there was that test (NPT( which I have no clue what is it about…apart from all of that, I love the feeling, I felt way younger than I am, I felt as if 35 years were 20 or 25, and I can still do something.

I had a very irritating night and woke up late the next morning, stood up next to the car for 15 minutes, asking myself, should I go or just leave it, finely I managed to get my head straight and drove away, they were nice to let me in, I wrote the terrible test.!! I was happy, at least I fought the negative feelings I had that morning, and I was sure that something has just changed..that morning.

Growing IVY!

It was only a week ago that I registered for the Facilitation course and it’s already the first day, first class, I feel like a child again. Only that I am late. Yes, I am not used to the early Saturday mornings. Haven’t had my coffee and cannot find the venue, in short, I am having a mare. I eventually find the class packed with +/- 100 students and I quietly with shame make my way to the spare desk at the back. Phew! I finally make it.

I silently ask my fellow classmate what have I missed, ‘’not much’’ she says. The lecture (Roslyn) has only gone through introductions, an overview, an outline and learning outcomes of course.

I am feeling a little bit uncomfortable and lost because she is now going through the detail and guidelines on how to structure and write a blog. What? I have to write a weekly blog?! The blog forms an important part of my deliverables and contributes hugely towards my year mark. This is the information I need, and need urgently.

At this point she starts giving us quick writing quizzes, I am already realising the mental barriers I have put for myself in terms of self-expression. Specifically expressing my self through writing and having an independent opinion. I am also seeing how this course is going to equip me with tools to be a better and structured communicator, verbally and through writing. This is going to be a boost for my confidence.

As she continues, a certain level of comfort starts kicking in. She divides the class into smaller groups. Yes, I am liking this approach as I work better in smaller groups. The point of the groups is for her to have better control of the large class and also to assign each group with a topic they need to report back on and facilitate the following week. The latter forms part of our training. Our group is due to present first – the following week. Week 2. We have a great funky topic but very little time to prep. The pressure is on.

As we stay behind after class to brainstorm the overall concept and direction for next week I try and draw lessons and insights from how Roslyn was facilitating her class. This is very new to me, to all of us and we need a starting point. Her class was casual, engaged, and drove discussions which kept the class very tuned in. We definitely need to take some of this into our presentation next week.

We get the topic, structure, and split of roles bedded down, we can now depart, start with our individual tasks. It’s going to be a long week. Here we go!

glasses

Week One: Opening up

At some point I have to overcome my fear of blogging.

The week was challenging. Class was a bit hectic. The process of opening up and exposing who you are to the class by stand up was quite frightening. The whole idea of standing up and being out there for everyone to notice you was a bit daunting. I have been at Witsplus for three year and I can say I have managed to keep a low profile.

There was a lot of moving around which was far different from any other lecture that I have attended at Wits. In most classes the set up involves lecturing and limited interaction. At this moment i also feel like there is an information overload and a lot of paging around. I am hoping with time this will adjust.

At this point I am actually asking myself if I am really cut up for this exercise. Am I willing to expose myself to the requirements that are going to allow me to have a fulfilling time in this process?

I will leave the answer to the question for next week; at this point I am choosing to keep my mind open…

First day

It’s 8:00 am and I just woke up . I have a 8:30 am class starting today and I want to scream , waking up so early on a Saturday is a nightmare but I committed myself to study this year so I have to do this .The course or rather the module I’m attending is called Facilitation Skills . I’m not sure what to expect but I hope it’s nothing hectic .

Finally I make it to class and I’m super late . I manage to find a sit at the back of the class and try to settle in , the class is pretty full and I’m struggling to hear the lecture or should I call her the facilitator 🙂 . We are shortly given a task to write to a friend then to a colleague , then to ourselves . As I write down my thought , I’m wondering why we are doing this ? this is not making sense at all ….. as I listen attentively to the Lecture i learn that this exercise will help us explore our writing skills . I can’t stop and wonder if I am at all a writer , I never write anything except for short emails at work . I’m not much of a writer nor a reader so this will be a challenge and I’m feeling rather unsettled and unsure , by the way is this class about writing Blogs ??? oh well it looks like I’m going to have to be strong and get out of my comfort zone … I am not one to quite so I will continue with this class .

On the positive I learned that I write better when I write to myself .

Class Learning

On the fist day of the lecture I came late to class. I late because my timetable suggested that my class will commence at 9am.  I really felt bad about entering lecture room while the lecturer was on the platform presenting. For me I regarded this as disrespect, firstly, to people who came early and to the lecturer and for this I apologise.  I miss some information and rely on obtaining it from team mate.

During lecturer’s presentation she taught us about blogging. It was for the first time that I got exposed to this system.  I learned that it was alright for me to write what I like in my own way. This will assist me in making sure that I eventually get it right by reflecting on my writing and identifying the good, the bad and the ugly phrasing of words and sentences.

For me, I previously had been worried about writing anything be it articles or any sort of communication that involved writing to the public.  I had thought of it as requiring a special skill therefore with English being my second language I particularly had a critic about my self in terms of my capability to write something that can be understood. In my experience I have never had a situation that make a person like my self feel good about writing until I have attended this lecture. I think I will write more to ease myself of the fear of being afraid to be criticised in a destructive manner.

I also learnt an easy way of grouping people into teams. I also learned that members of the team are different in the way they view things, this is something I knew but I never new that they can be so vocal in thinking about issues and eager to present their point of view before other. I don’t know maybe this is good but I’m learning as we go along with the team.

GM Ndlozi

BREAKING THE ICE – DAY 1

The first day in facilitation class…..meeting Ros for the first time.

Ros asked, “how many of you were told there is no exam in this class?”…half the class rose their hands.  Her answer was, we are all adults, we know when this class and know how we should attend the class.

The next thing we were asked is to write on paper, “my reason for studying as an adult?  Quite a list of reasons popped in my head, I kinda felt and came close to the main objective…its my passion, the passion I have when talking to people with different subjects of their lives and it is my life.  We must address it to 3 different audiences (yourself, the one person you love the most and the lecturer).  Amazing exercise, the level of emotions, the level of how you want to structure your words mentally  and the tone set on the different writings.

Last question was, not sure if I will remember it correctly, what are the trading relationship that China has with different countries.  I didn’t find the question interesting, I managed to write 3 and a half sentences.

We then sat in a circle, gave a box with numbers to the student next to her and told us to choose a number.  She then requested everyone to group themselves according to the numbers we chose.  We did as she asked and each of us gathered as a group.  There came an interesting part of the lecturer and not knowing by choosing the number I chose I am setting myself as a guinea pig for the exercise that was to be announced. These are all your groups in the duration of this course (subject) and number 2 is the first group to present the next saturday. I swallowed my saliva three times, thinking the announcement was going to be altered and it was not.  The explanation on how these marks will counts towards our final exam, made me realize I have to take the group thing seriously and fortunately my group was made up of determined mates.

After class, we remained to discuss the plan for the presentation/facilitation on SocialMedia.

Asking why tends to lead to deliberate living.

In our first lecture (which I should find another word to describe or title) we were asked to write in our notebooks, for a few minutes, about our reason for studying as an adult. The moment before putting pen to paper to begin the short task I wondered about this term ‘adult’, and how even at age 31, I still felt like a kid. Just a kid with a little more purpose and direction, or at least, I hoped.

Once the moment passed, I penned a note directed to “a lecturer” as the task was guided and in it I said:

“My reason for studying as an adult is that in 2012, during a time of self-reflection, I surmised that my gut was right about what I thought I wanted to do with my life. In my work and in play, I had found that the common theme in my language and the way I viewed life and most topics and how I would express myself was driven by the need to know people. To try and figure out how people felt, how people thought and what made them tick; always looking at why people behave in certain way and what informs their being. I also found that I wanted to understand how to make people heal and this seemed always present in the way I engaged. Further, in my work especially, I wanted to move people, make people acknowledge and recognise themselves and think alternatively – not differently in the sense that the way they think or are is wrong – as I truly believe that there are so many of us because there are so many ways to view the same thing.“

This is what ten minutes of inking a blank page and neighbouring words to express my thoughts produced. I enjoyed the exercise and I felt excited about actually saying what I was feeling about myself and why I was studying, out loud; albeit to a piece of paper in a cute notebook no one would ever see.

The second and third parts of the exercise were to answer the same thing but to the self, as the second part, and to someone I love, as the final. These musings were shorter and slightly different.

To myself I said: “ You are opening up your mind to what your instinct has known, you have taken a leap of faith, and hard work, because you know that this is the beginning of a path that will be truly living your destiny.
You have had a good decade of learning yourself, blindly yet guided by your gut, now it is time to solidify that with academic qualification in the field you are drawn to. It is scary, but everything falls into place when you take that step towards destiny. “

I analysed that to myself I spoke quite differently and less factually, but also still quite emotively and abstract.

To someone I love I started by saying: “I am taking the first steps towards actively living my destiny, learning discipline and focus, being the best version of myself and giving myself the chance to be humbled by the phrase, I don’t know. In actively engaging with what I am drawn to I’m at the very least meeting my destiny along the way. “
Time ran out and the class continued.

The exercise was to find out for ourselves to whom we felt most comfortable speaking or writing to and that that could be a guide when tackling tasks. I have not yet figured out which audience gets the most out of me yet, I think it will always depend on the topic.

Essentially, my answer is that after 4 years of talking about being a healer. I’m finally beginning to pave the path that will lead me there. I’m terrified and excited. Wish me luck in holding a PHD in Psychology by age 40 and maybe then, feeling like an adult.

Week Two

So…I don’t think this class is for me. I like knowing what’s going on like all the time!

This doesn’t take away the fact that group two did well with their facilitating.

I would still like to know what we are doing after that. We read stories…discussed them in our groups for what again? dololo! no marks…nothing.

Perhaps it’s the flu typing but I don’t like the chaotic nature of the class…I could cry!

Links are magical!

“I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him” – Galileo Galilei

I realized something on Saturday’s facilitation class, something magical. It happened while we had our group discussions in groups of fours and then two’s. I knew that this class would take me out of my comfort zone since I am an introvert and I really just enjoy  my own company and minding my own business, so I really wasn’t looking forward to such discussions. In trying to come up with different explanations about this and that and defining what facilitation is from each of our own perspective, it made me realise that though we are all so different, coming from different backgrounds and having different experiences…what connects us is that we are all trying to find answers in what everyday life throws at us and in trying to find those answers we add a link to what each of us didn’t know before and that creates a new view/perspective from what you knew before. That’s knowledge gained. In my group, we all had different ideas about what facilitation is. It was in linking our ideas that we eventually came up with one definition. Here’s to creating more links and experiencing more magical moments.

P.

My very first BLOG EVER!

18 July 2016

For many years I have played with the idea of writing a blog. The thought of generating an electronic platform to share my learnings and create a space to share my journey and what I have learnt, as well as search for other well written bogs to learn from other people’s journeys and learnings, really draws me.

Saying that, I have always been so intimidated with the thought of publishing my thoughts on-line. The vulnerability and leaving myself out in the open for criticism and trolling has left me completely intimated by the whole thought.
When I attended my first lecture at WITS on facilitation, the facilitator Roslyn Solomon said we are required to write a blog every single week after lectures and my panic immediately set in. I could barely hear anything and just heard my blood pumping in my ears.

All the forums I have read on how to write and structure an excellent blog went out the window when I was faced with this empty page……….THE PANIC AND TERROR

So I just let go and started typing, eager to get my thoughts on “paper” and start this journey of blogging.

The rest of the first day I was left feeling out of sorts and confused about what was expected, what the learning outcomes were and what was expected from me.
I have always struggled with the “traditional learning environment”. Lectures and parrot fashion regurgitation has always frustrated me to no end.
This whole module is completely different to anything I have ever experienced in a learning environment, and while I am feeling uncertain and unsure, I am terrible excited that everything is different and I am so looking forward to the process of learning and doing.

 

 

Getting out of my comfort zone

The first facilitation class made me realize just how difficult it can sometimes be working on a group project with people whom you just met, to be honest i struggled abit at first. When i got home and started telling my family about how class was my mother asked me why was i struggling with the group work. was it maybe the people? or was the topic difficult? and it was at that point when i thought about it trying to find a reason i could blame my difficulty on but i could’nt, my group members were nice, smart and enthusiatic people. How was it so easy for them to adjust to a group project with strangers. At first i thought i was struggling because im not a morning person and i was grumpy because i hadnt consumed my caffeine fix for the day. I had to be honest with myself i was struggling because i was anxious, getting good marks for this project depended on how well i would have to work with people i met on the same day. This was something that overwhelmed me but i realised that because i had already taken the challenge of studying again then this would just be a journey i needed to take and an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and interact with new people who also had the same challenge of studying in common with me. This was some what comforting.

ACTIVE LEARNING? Staying awake during lectures?

The past Saturday, I attended an elective course titled Facilitation. All looked usual as I entered the lecture room with classroom style seating. Shock and horror Statement 1… the lecturer mentions that she is completely right brained! More shock and horror 2 follows… words like “reflection”, “self-learning”, “self-awareness” enter the lexicon in the room. OMG! Starting to panic, silent screams “Hey where are the TECHNICAL SKILLS?” “I am here to gain facilitation skills”. Don’t get me wrong… I am as interested in self awareness as Daniel Goleman (best-selling author of the book Emotional Intelligence)… but just not in the lecture room! Palms sweating, heart racing, panic is mounting. Shock and horror statement 3 “Right. Now I want you to push the desks to the edge and form a circle”. Oh no! What is this?… Desks are as integral to learning as tea is to cup! Pounding in the chest… starting to sweat. Oh wait… what’s that, we are doing a fishbowl. Lecturer’s voice “observe the inner circle as I assist the first group to prepare for their lecture”. Observing, Wait, hey, oh, ah ok I see. Could this be…?  Oh wow! Well I will be damned. Fishbowl… I just learnt a technique. YES! YES! YES! Technical skills. Its happening. What just happened here is ACTIVE LEARNING. And guess what – they’re talking about it at Harvard too!! That was the pearl the lecture ended on! I had to find out more and am blown away. Right brained people are leading this innovation. Out of my comfort zone… and open to the learning process.

A little sneak peak for the next post where we will talk more about this interesting way of learning which is NOT centred on single person teaching:
Active learning is generally defined as any instructional method that engages students in the learning process. In short, active learning requires students to do meaningful learning activities and think about what they are doing” (Michael Prince, Bucknell University, 2004).
More next post… get to know what renowned Harvard Professor Eric Mazur is saying about active learning!

Wishing you warmth of the African sun! J

A New Arrival Into The Fish Bowl!

A New Arrival Into The Fish Bowl!

A cheap metaphor conjured by my dramatic limbic system: Isn’t it strange that a goldfish is actually orange but, attributed as gold –  a color associated with divinity and, prestige. Perhaps a goldfish is referred to as gold not because of its appearance but, because of its characteristics to survive in extreme temperatures? Quite like myself – resilient. Resilience is a prerequisite for success as well as holistic assimilation of knowledge and, liberal-altruistic teaching.

king-goldfish

My name is Carlo and, my life can be summarized by an event in the Bible – Peter calling out to Jesus to invite him to walk on water alongside Jesus; but due to fear and, doubtfulness Peter began to sink – This applies to facilitation skills. I am aware that I am transcendent and, liberalized in being but, with great power comes great responsibility; with greater freedom comes great uncertainty.

To me facilitation skills meant teaching others and, helping the less fortunate; to my greatest surprise it involved a deep form of inter-connectedness as well as self-teaching; something which frightens me because, it requires my emotional and, spiritual state to be unrestrained – emotions as well as spirituality fuels my consciousness and, higher thinking.

The first day of Facilitation Skills was like a scene from Harry Potter; Divination with professor Trelawney, revealing to Harry that he has the Grim, an ominous foreboding on his life (darkness cannot extinguish light, it only accentuates its presence) I’ve learnt from my peers that we share a common enemy – our fears and, constriction by norms. Rosslyn Solomon my very own professor Trelawney indicated to me that if you wish to facilitate knowledge to others, you must understand the content as well as you understand yourself.

Grim-1458912180

The greatest highlight of the lecture is that facilitation skills is a type of learning vs teaching experience, which requires mass participation – a type of academic preaching.

Not a morning person

So I do terribly at early morning wake-ups. My brain is just not ready for life at 6am. Or even at 8am. As a matter of fact, probably not even at 10am.
Give me an evening of productive activity any day!

So when I found myself stumbling out of bed for a Facilitation Skills class which starts at 8:30am, I was cursing the day I signed up for it. Ideally, a coffee would have made me feel a little better, or at the very least added a bit of bounce in my step. Alas, my body doesn’t deal well with caffeine and I’ve had to give it up.
So I’m stuck with rooibos tea – an amazing drink but certainly not bounce-inducing.

Anyway, stumbling out of bed for a class which I thought started at 9am (I later found out it starts at 8:30am! On a Saturday! Why?)
When I arrived at class I realised that I didn’t know much about what to expect from this class. It was a much bigger class than I was used to, and the only thing anyone had told me about it was that it was fun and that there was no exam.

After the first hour I realised there was a lot more to it than that. I would need to engage – actively – every Saturday morning in order to pass. The idea was daunting. On no caffeine, could it be done?

After we were broken into groups and we got to talking I realised that I wasn’t the only one who had reservations about this class. Some people were nervous, others not feeling well, and other just not sure what to expect. My group’s topic is Freeing the Mind and we spent some time talking about what that meant to each of us. The answers differed considerably – for some people it was about the scientific process of how the mind thinks. For others it was about breaking free from the things that block you and being able to free yourself up to new ideas.

Part of the process of freeing my mind for me will removing the mental block of not being a morning person in order to get the most out of this experience. The only question is how?

Facilitation Week1

So, its 23h18 and I find myself wondering what I want to blog.  The course is an elective for me and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have to admit I wasn’t expecting so many people to be attending this class. I have never done this before and I think it will be an interesting way to explore my creative side. I love meeting new people and learning about them. The groups are amazing with wonderful perspectives on how to bring our allocated topics to life. Looking forward to seeing you all.

Tired now. Had a class tonight. Better get my beauty sleep so I can be on time tomorrow.

Night all…