When I present, facilitate, or coach, I always look for some way to create a collective experience that everyone can share in. This could be a story that has emotion and connection with the audience; or, it might be an activity of a type that everyone can take part; or, it may be a sport drill or routine. No matter the group or the context, collective experience gives us a solid foundation that we can refer to and draw upon as the rest of the session goes along.
This technique has worked wonders for me in public school classrooms, coach training seminars, on the field or court, and in the University classroom for over 28 years.
In the COVID learning environment, no one was ready. How could we be? Everything happened so fast.
There is one group, however, that had been sharing collective experiences and is guided to learn a collective structure for self-assessment and reporting. These are the Essential Skill Achievement Pathway (ESAP) students of New Brunswick. Their courses are designed differently.
They are taught to find the challenges, develop the pathways to solve the challenges, and to demonstrate their competence through activity. They don’t have to wait for someone to feed them content, the forage on their own and use projects and like-activities to drive their learning.
A collective experience and a collectively understood structure for learning, it seems, has ‘distance proofed’ these students and their teachers. If we have to go into another phase of remote learning, I hope that we have a closer look at the ESAP program, its roots, values, and its remarkable ability to support success.
Dr. Ross Leadbetter, CEO iHub Learning