loren Eric Swanson: My Reflections on Global Learning Community

Saturday, January 21, 2006

My Reflections on Global Learning Community

The three-day summit of our global Learning Community ended Thursday night with a time of sharing in the lodge. It was our best gathering yet as city leaders gathered with old friends. Rich Lotterhos and his daughter Kelley (grad student at UK) did a great job with all the food, culminating with smoked beef tenderloin on Thursday night. There were a number of new converts to Nordic Walking . How could we ask for more.

What makes this work? Here are my thoughts off the top of my head which I may ammend later as more stuff comes to mind.
1. It is peer learning. Every team leader has the proven ability to convene the spiritual leaders of their cities. Everyone comes with something to contribute and something to learn
2. It is interactive. During the three days we had only three hours of content by Robert Norsworthy...very outstanding content by the way
3. The schedule is more like vacation than work. With participants coming in from around the globe we scheduled breakfast (European style--bread, meats, cheeses, cold cereals and a little cooked treat--grits, bacon, french toast etc) to begin at 9 with our first meeting at 10. We broke from 3:30-6:30 for recreation and conversation then ended the first two evenings with movies , dessert and discussions...ending around 10pm. There was no need for a 7:00am breakfast and a 8:00 start
4. Though each team sets its own goals, each team must set goals and report out on accomplishments at the beginning of each gathering
5. We use models and metaphors. Models help us communicate the integrity (what's present and what is missing) of our plans and help us create "what could be" scenarios. Metaphors--especially "cognative metaphors" help us develop critical thinking by using something unknown and complex to give us insight into what we think we already know.
6. We are among friends...people we trust and know have our mutual best in mind
7. The time is refreshing. All of these people are "givers" and this is a time for them to receive a little love, affirmation and appreciation.
8. This is faith based....meaning we can't guarantee specific outcomes but we operate somewhat like the Medici family in Florence. The Medicis were a banking family who brought in and were patrons of the best artists, sculptors, poets, writers, archetects, etc. The result of this cross-polinization was...the renaissance!


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