Are You Prepared to Teach our Immersion Course? (Summary: Faculty Development Meeting)

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There are many opportunities to teach at Creating the Future, all of which center around what it looks like when we put Catalytic Thinking into action.

The Continuum of Potential is one aspect of Catalytic Thinking that especially informs our education programs. The Continuum is a framework that helps us know where people are in reaching for their own potential in any particular setting.

When it comes to our education program participants, there are people at one end of the continuum who are seeking specific skills, through everything from how-to blog posts and videos to more in-depth webinars and workshops. At the other end of the continuum, there are practitioners who are seeking to deepen their practice, through programs such as live Q&A sessions, communities of practice, and of course, our immersion courses. 

And then of course, our prospective instructors are also at various points along their own Continuum of Potential. Some are in the more “doing” stages of practicing over and over, to change old habits and/or create new ones. And some are at the “being it” stages, having already incorporated Catalytic Thinking into how they simply show up every day, everywhere, with everyone.

On March 30, Creating the Future’s faculty team began defining “being prepared to teach” within the context of the most intensive of our programs – our immersion courses (either online or in person). The questions we asked included:
     • What would “prepared to teach the immersion course” look and sound like?
     • What would “prepared” absolutely NOT look like?
     • What would students see / hear / feel from instructors who were ready to teach?

From there, the group began to consider systems that would help facilitate that preparedness.
     • What would a system make possible for people in the faculty track?
     • What systems / infrastructure does Creating the Future need, to facilitate that?

The following is a summary of that meeting. (Due to the personal nature of the conversation, this meeting was not a public meeting. For information about which meetings Creating the Future keeps closed, please see our Policy on Open Meetings.)

What does it look like and sound like when someone is prepared to teach immersion?
– BEING the practice – it is affecting them personally
– Eagerness, excitement, energy in their practice
     – Trying things
     – inquisitive about the practice
     – can express themselves around the practice
– Experience in BEING the practice vs DOING it
– Instructors feeling what students feel
     – transformation
     – it’s PERSONAL
– Self confidence to say “I don’t know” and “let’s explore that together”
– Indicators = stories = many reference points in their life (vs only work)
– What questions is he/she asking in everything they do?
– Reflections indicate ongoing learning / what they are learning vs. “I already know this”
– Process focus vs content focus (re: facilitation)
     – facilitating PEOPLE vs teaching content
     – holding space for others to be at their best
– We’d hear prospective teachers talking about how they FEEL
– Creating conditions for people to experience life in a particular way
– Importance of getting to know each other – not willing to skip over this
– Recognizing where each instructor is on the Continuum of Potential
     – The Continuum eliminates the binary “I teach vs. I don’t teach”
– Teaching would be part of your personal development and practice
– Commitment to invest time in being able to teach / learning how to teach
– We would see them already teaching in different ways
– They would already be moving the mission forward in different ways / showing commitment to Creating the Future
– We would hear them sharing what they are learning about themselves and their own transformation vs. sharing stories about something they do for / to someone else
     – evidence of self-exploration / self-change / personal aha’s

What do students see when instructors / facilitators are “ready”?
– In immersion, students saw Hildy had been visibly practicing and sharing Catalytic Thinking
– Confidence that the instructor is LIVING the practice (not just in their work, in everything)
– Pre-class call is the 1st point of contact
     – Is this person walking the talk?
     – Does this person know their stuff?
     – Clarifying outcomes / expectations in every interaction
     – Feeling that this person is holding space for me in every interaction
          – warmth
          – kindness
          – compassion
– Being explicit AND being explicit about being explicit
– Help participant to know the facilitator’s own journey
     – They would see that they are practitioners
     – They would see someone who is open about their personal practice

What would readiness NOT look like / sound like?
– Scripted – memorize lesson plan / what I’m going to teach
– Focus on tactics (the doing) vs relationships and outcomes
– Afraid of the worst that could happen
– “I can’t make them understand / I can’t get them to do something / How can we get them to understand?”
– “If only” and “Stuck” continuum language (“I keep trying to get them to ___ and they won’t…”)
– Stories only about work environments (doing vs being)

What would a “teaching prep” system make possible for people in the faculty track?
– Know where to go to ask for help
– Explicit about process and especially why those steps are important
     – Remove assumptions about self and systems
     – Replace assumptions with expectations.
     – e.g. “Are you asking these questions?”
– People will be able to self-assess
     – Introspection
     – further their practice
– Clarity about what they need to work on
– Self-reflection to be able to see what they may have forgotten
– Deepen each person’s personal practice
– Sense of belonging, supported, nurtured (vs feeling left out)
     – included
     – this is my tribe
     – People aren’t making decisions about me / we are making decisions together

What infrastructure does Creating the Future need, in order to facilitate “instructor readiness” to teach immersion (or anything else)?
– Systems / Processes for deciding
     – Who decides?
     – What is the process for deciding?
     – What is the process for learning / moving along the continuum?
– Also curriculum incubator to gain experience in co-creating (separate – curriculum development vs personal development as potential facilitator / instructor)
     – To what degree is co-creating a pre-requisite of teaching?
– Regular check-ins vs. “annual evaluation”
     – with whom?
– Indicators so that people can self-assess
– Ability of people to touch base with others to ask questions
     – Peer coaching (one-on-one)
     – Communities of Practice and learning

The next steps in this process are as follows:
• Determine what types of classes our practitioners are “ready” to teach at each stage along the Continuum of Potential

• Determine the process for nurturing practitioners to move along the continuum towards their potential, whether they intend to teach or not

• Develop process / system for determining indicators that someone is ready to teach at each stage (Who is part of that process? What does the process entail?)

Stay tuned. The ongoing personal development of people who think of themselves as “faculty” is just that – personal development, first and foremost.

Because it’s always about the people, it’s never about the thing…

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