The World Cafe Event continued to explore: “What engages us in learning? Underlying questions presented during the second event were “Without being humble, describe what you value most about yourself. How does this contribute to the experience of learning for you? What setting does this seem to flourish best in? What would attract you to that setting?” I struggled with the questions. They focused on the learner to the exclusion of the teacher. Is this possible? As I sat quietly Saturday morning, an answer emerged. We treat learning and teaching as mutually exclusive of one another. With fresh eyes, I saw them as two sides of the same coin, shaped from paradox.
We might argue this is an eastern philosophic view to join the two together, but western cultures also have deep, continuing traditions of the intertwined nature of learning and teaching. Mentor-protege, master craftsman-apprentice, and adult-child relationships reveal examples. In learning conversations, we should embrace the relational nature of learning and teaching; therefore, they will stand in unison.
A second question about the conversation was the reluctance we have to speak of ourselves in positive ways. One group dealt with this using a relational mirror. In the course of conversation, a trusted person described another individual. Innovative teachers dealing with unusual and challenging educational environments use a similar process. Teachers ask students to list valued qualities of each person in the classroom, copy them, and distribute the lists. Years later, former students at reunions pull the tattered lists from wallets and purses to recall what had been said about them by others that otherwise long-forgotten day. The teacher would also learn about the gifts and challenges each child brought to school with them through this activity.
A Summary of World Cafe Event February 18, 2012 of the table conversations are uploaded in the form of a MS Word document.
Kathy used her camera to capture the energy from the posters in a PDF format at World Cafe Table Posters. They take a moment to upload and you may have to rotate them.