Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Modeling Workshop: An Emotional Roller Coaster

As we approach the last couple of days of our modeling workshop I have a bit of time to reflect on what a crazy ride it is for every one.  I remember back to the summer of 2000 and my own mechanics workshop.  I am still friends with more than a couple of the participants.  How does this happen?

First; a story.

Yesterday the funniest thing happened.  The participants were practicing facilitating a white boarding session.  They are really getting quite good at the questioning techniques.  But it is still uncomfortable for everyone involved.  There has to be a good deal of trust between all of the participants and the leaders of the workshop for this practice to be effective.  

After one really good practice session we were debriefing the actual white board.  It related to a roller coaster  going through a loop.  As an add on, I asked one of the white boarders "How do you feel?"  I meant, at the top of the loop, how would the rider feel.  

He responded with, "Well, I was really confused and uncomfortable at first but I'm starting to feel better about the content and the methodology."  

At that point we were all a bit confused and he caught himself and started laughing.  "Oh, you meant if I was the rider!"  He was a bit embarrassed but we all had a really good laugh.

This reminded me how emotional these workshops can be.  For many teachers it is tough to confront all of the ingrained ideas about teaching.  Often you have to admit to yourself that you've been less than effective in the past.  Also many teachers confront their lack of solid content knowledge.  

These are difficult and take a real commitment and emotional investment.  I love that!

This is why we grow together as a group.  And this is what we want for our students and our classes!  The bonds formed during this emotional roller coaster can be very lasting.  I encourage everyone to be aware of this and cultivate these experiences in your workshops and classrooms.

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