Monday, April 18, 2011

Project Venture

I had the great pleasure to take in a session from the Project Venture trainers, Heather Yazzie and Devin Seowtewa, in La Loche last week and I was amazed at their facilitating skills.   They worked with a group of roughly 20 people and had us laughing from the heart and in deep reflection throughout the sessions they lead.   I must admit I felt a little awkward at times; I mean pretending to be a squirrel trying to touch my tail to the ceiling left me feeling a little embarrassed, but it also helped build trust within the group to try even more out of the box activities.  

I was so impressed with the way the two worked together and how well they complemented each other while providing consistently positive feedback to our group.   Not only were they able to make us feel safe while getting us to do some experiential activities, they were able to model giving positive feedback and its power!   I kept thinking that this is training that all teachers could really use.   So often we drift to the negative and focus on what is wrong instead of focusing on what is right.   I recall one circle that Devin called but only four of us responded to right away; rather than reacting to those not paying attention, he thanked those of us who had joined the circle and then welcomed those who realized they were missing something and joined in late.   Powerful example of staying positive in a situation many of us might have turned into a negative!

I was really impressed by the concept they introduced from Project Venture called the Full Value Commitment and I wonder if educators could borrow from these ideas and establish them as code of conduct if you will for their classrooms.   The Full Value Commitment is something people engaged in Project Venture activities are expected to embrace and there are 5 pieces to it: 1) Be here, 2) Be safe, 3) Speak your truth, 4) Set goals, and 5) Let go and move on.    Simple, but effective.   Thumbs up to Project Venture and the people taking its teachings across North America in hopes of helping at risk youth find new truths.  

Devin and Heather, it was an honour to have hosted you in La Loche and thank you for sharing so much with us.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Looking at things differently

For some time now I've wanted to return to the world of blogging.   I had been blogging on a site I called "I thought I knew it all (when I was a teenager)" and it just did not fit where I was in my life.   The blog really was organzied for ECI 831 with Alec Couros and much of it was devoted to reflecting on things I was learning in the class.  Not long after I completed ECI 831, I switched postions and became principal of La Loche Community School and I became concerned that blogging might get me in trouble as I reflected on the things that troubled me.   I'm sure many principals have this anxiety about reflecting on things in school that could breach confidentiality.   This concern effectively created a writer's block for me and I could not think about sharing what I was going through without the fear of reprisal. 

It finally occurred to me that the words of my former principal, Greg Hatch, were good advice.   He always told me, "If you don't like the way things are, change the way you look at them."    So I've made a change; I do not need to reflect on the things that trouble me, I can reflect on the things that I want to celebrate.   That realization is what is prompting me to start this new blog.   I am going to use this blog as a way of reflecting on what is good in school and in doing so I expect I will see things in a better light.  

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