How to facilitate community-based learning, where people learn and experience individually, yet they are in a group context?
How to meet our needs for meaningful connection and a sense of community, without attachment and long-term engagement with the learning community?
Well, after almost 6-months of working on that topic, in the context of the “I Hear You(th)” Project, we have a recipe for success!
Step 1. Marketing or\and Honesty
We have been learning to connect and invite to the learning community people who are passionate about what we are passionate about: education, coaching, personal development, and movement.
Our first assumption was that by creating the best visual or posting everywhere, we will gather the community. Well, we end up with 4 people… after 1 month of “promotion” and “marketing”.
Then, we went through a process of learning to be honest about what we want and why we are doing that.
We were learning not to hide behind big words and visuals, promises and advertisements, but actually to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and reach out personally. A lot of inner work around rejection…
“Hey, this is what we do. Would you like to join?“
Simple… Not easy 🙂
Step 2. The dynamics within the team are reflected outside of the team.
It was a process of learning to work together, where each one of us stands their ground and states their position.
We figured out that when the team is in a flow, registrations are raining from the sky. Flow attracts!
And we invested in reaching a state of flow, learning how not to be always polite and say what others want to hear. Learning how to be honest with each other. How to listen to each other without imposing. How to create space for all without shrinking and making ourselves small.
And it all started with: “Hey! How are you? Let’s check in what is alive in us today!”
Investing time and attention in our relationship, we today harvest flow and love that allows us to nourish our next projects…
We realised that one of the most important things we can do as facilitators is actually… pancakes.
The basics of a gathering, such as clean space, creative tools around, cosiness, music, atmosphere, and welcoming… are the foundations on which we build.
One of our big learnings was to give people time to actually arrive, not only physically in the space, but also in themselves. We were honouring the natural movement of all of us, finding our space in the room and checking to whom we feel drawn to speak.
The homemade food supported us to ground ourselves and to do something with physical impact!
It was also a great team building for our team. We enjoyed gathering creative materials and creating an inviting space.
Step 4. Claiming myself a beginner
We could actually trust the process and share that: “Hey, we also don’t know how to approach this community learning… How about doing it together?”
Trusting that people are there to support each other and not to judge, demand or expect. Allowing ourselves to relax into it and explore it together with, not in the front.
Suddenly, the flow was there and we started a beautiful exploration!
We used a set of beautiful cards to explore how do we come together as one system. Where does each one position themselves? What are the movements that we follow? How close and how far do we stay from others? What is our character in the system? What are the behaviours that keep us from connecting?
It was beautiful work with intuition, followed by honest and moving reflection. It was great to co-create the process.
We were using Nordic Animal Oracle cards by @zanete.eglite.
Step 5. Create actions that have an impact in the Physical Universe, not only in the head
The second part of the day was dedicated to movement. Julian, one of the people who participated, hosted a workshop on spine awareness. Eudokia that came from Athens for this event, picked it up from the spine and organically continued with elements of physical theatre and exploring what in us wants to move.
The movement was given a shape in the circle. We connected with our breath and body in a short meditation and after that, we held our hands to check can I connect, while staying closer to my own self.
In the end, we brought to the physical universe our inner work, by planting a little pot of herbs and bringing it home. This way we grow together, just like what we planted that day!
Step 6. We give ourselves time to arrive. We give ourselves time to harvest!
There are great tools for debriefing and reflection out there! And if you want some inspiration, just connect with us and we will share 😉
This event is created in the context of the Erasmus + funded project “I Hear You(th)”. Events like this one took place in 7 different countries in Europe. Altogether we were doing our first step into community learning. And it is #magic!
We are grateful to Olde Vechte Foundation for managing the project and bringing know-how! We are grateful to Zsofi Gaudi, for writing the project and bringing innovation to the field. And we are grateful to everybody who supported us and was there!
Many more events are on the horizon! We are now learning how to find funding for them, so more people can enjoy community learning. If you have ideas, drop a line!
With much love from our team,
Joanna (facilitator of creative learning spaces)
Ilze (coach and educator)
Gummi (coach, embodied facilitator)