Monday, 15 September 2008

Intimate Engagement

As a newly appointed Learning Support Facilitator, I am exploring new terrain in ways to provide meaningful professional development to educators who I have had no previous relationship with. What is a meaningful learning opportunity? How do you build a congenial, rather than a collegial, relationship with a stranger?

Joan Frye Williams, a speaker at the ALA, and Keith Walker, an Educational Administration professor at the University of Saskatchewan, both indicate ineffective presentation modes that do not initiate an intimate engagement:
1. I Know What's Best - Presuming what the other needs.
2. Paul Revere Presentation - Cite imminent disaster and the rise of something horrible.
3. Buzzword Barrage - Fill the presentation with the latest jargon without context or meaning.
4. Star Trek - Restate what it already occurring, but wear a smashing stretchy outfit.

Williams and Walker may have presented at two different events and probably have never met, but their message was unanimous. Creating an environment of hospitality, community, and trust involves "walking across the room" (Walker). Take initiative to build relationships with others, find common interest in the unlikely or unknown person, and interact in innovative ways.

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