Teacher Qualifications

Teaching For almost three years, Creating the Future has been teaching consultants and workshop leaders how to reframe their thinking, to help their clients create a healthy, vibrant future for their communities.

As we begin expanding our programs, it’s clear we are going to need additional teachers who are qualified to teach those courses. Which means it is time to fully develop the Faculty Level of the consultants curriculum.

Having qualified teachers would make so much more possible for communities around the world. The most important result in our minds comes from this observation:

Change leaders shouldn’t have to fly to conferences and far away trainings to learn how to create change. If you can learn about fundraising in your home town, you should also be able to learn how to create a healthy, vibrant future for your community – the reason you’re fundraising in the first place!

Imagine the impact if training in how to create change was as ubiquitous as grant-writing workshops! For that to happen, though, we obviously need qualified teachers. Teaching

And before we can develop the Faculty Level of our curriculum, we will need to determine what qualifications those teachers would need to have. Once we know that, figuring out what / how to teach / measure those qualifications is the easy part.

So that’s the question:

  1. What would we want to be sure every single one of our faculty knows?
  2. What experience would we want to be sure they have?  What qualities would we want to be sure they possess as people?
  3. If you’ve participated in other train-the-trainer programs – where the organization doing the training will actually be sending those new faculty out to teach – what criteria do those orgs use for determining whether or not their faculty is qualified to teach?
  4. What other questions should we be asking ourselves about faculty qualifications?

Getting very excited to move forward on this huge leap forward for communities everywhere!!!

14 thoughts on “Teacher Qualifications”

  1. Hildy,
    I love that you just don’t give up and you continue to give from yourself. Your depth of knowledge is so impressive. So, hearing your call, I will try and provide some valuable feedback.
    First, and it is probably obvious, all faculty must be graduates and practitioners of CTFs concepts. I think this experience needs to extend not only in class but out in the world, through their personal work with clients or in their philanthropic contributions.
    Continuing, of course, CTFs faculty must walk the walk along with talking the talk. You know what I mean here. It is not satisfactory to just know how to present CTFs concepts and practices, but one must also, quite frankly, have it in their blood. i.e. to know not to ask questions with answers in them; to know when to take a deep breath and reach for your highest potential during a didactic moment, to know how to facilitate in a way in which each participant is feeling their potential is attainable, not defending their actions, etc.
    Agencies who want to be involved must have core values in align with CTF and have practiced these values in their community.
    I think other questions need to explore an overall depth and breath of the knowledge of the work of community benefit organizations in general, such as fundraising, board work, etc and the ability to transfer that knowledge to be able to work with all community benefit organizations, no matter what their specific work may be.
    This is what I have for now and hopefully this will kick-start the conversation. Sending warm wishes to all.

    Reply
  2. In another organization where we did the train the trainer model, we found that there is a difference between training (which was more like here’s a script, let’s make sure you can follow it) and teaching. Teaching required not just knowledge about the content, but also a set of values about how people learn and how best to support that learning. I think questions should be asked about how that person goes about developing the potential in others.

    You might also consider deploying teachers in teams at first, since it is heavy content to handle by one’s self (you and Dimitri team up, so I imagine similar support would be needed, at least at first).

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  3. Rochelle and Kim:
    You guys rock! This is immensely helpful, each bit of it. Can’t wait to see what else folks come up with.
    HG

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  4. Hi – I’ve been thinking on this since you first posted and while I’m not sure if I’m clear myself; here are some of my thoughts.

    What a good faculty knows: well, they know the stuff and as Rochelle (wink, wink) said, they walk the talk and are values driven. Yet I think a good teacher also knows that they don’t know it all and that their students can teach the teacher a lot. They are open to seeing things from a different perspective and are always willing to be vulnerable in their own teachings. A good teacher trusts “the wisdom in the room” (where have I heard that??) and sees the potential that a student may not see in themselves… yet. They have an ability to challenge in a supportive way; to be present; to be able to disrupt thought patterns so new patterns can be made.

    Being a graduate of the CTF is a given and also practical experience in the real world working with others on the principles, concepts and learnings from those experiences, both in the CTF concepts and other concepts so they have a broad appreciation for the dynamics that come into play in different situations.

    The best train-the-trainer programs I have participated in balance “material and process” with “who you show up as” as a teacher/trainer. Generally, new trainers are paired with another trainer, often more senior, to apprentice, so to speak, but with the expectation that they develop their own style and presence as a trainer. I hate the robot trainers who just go through all the material step by step and I think a good teacher expands on the basic material based on the students in front of her/him to make it real and impactful while holding true to the values of the material.

    I love Kim’s question on “how that person goes about developing the potential in others” and what they have learned themselves from great teachers. Personally, I would like to hear both what they have done, and also what they see as their own potential in teaching CTF. There are other questions bouncing around in my head but they are not making a lot of sense right now so will post later when I get a chance.

    Reply
  5. Hildy and all my CTF Colleagues,

    On this last day of December, of 2011, I’m struck by how I continue to be drawn to the thinking of this group and how it informs my work. I don’t regularly check in on the dialogue, but peruse it and use it to stimulate my next steps and ongoing reflection about my work as a consultant. I agree with Carlo, Kim and Rochelle’s thinking about what it means to be a good teacher. In my own work and experience (as teacher and student) I continue to be humbled by the reciprocal nature of learning. Still, a good teacher is not only true to her content, but to her inner voice and way of being in the world. So a CTF faculty member may look different, and feel different from the next, but they would ultimately convey the same message and share a core set of values about what is possible in the world. I always remind myself when I think I’m headed for a new way of being and thinking that, “wherever you go, there you are.” We cannot escape our essence and essential nature, therefore part of the question for what would a CTF Faculty need is to define what “essence” we are looking for. The content, the training, would be fairly straightforward answers to what is needed. The person who steps into the role requires more pondering. Another way of considering the question might be to ask whether there was anyone who attended the CTF courses that immediately struck you as a potential Trainer of Trainers, or whether there was one or two that you felt were not likely candidates for implementing the concepts or sharing their learning with others. What was it about either group that suggested they would or wouldn’t work? This may help get to a list of qualities and values that are essential in that role. Finally, teaching style does matter; even though there might be great variation in those who become CTF faculty, I do think that they must be able to facilitate first, just as they would in their consultancy, and integrate the concepts into the experiential process, just as you so masterfully do, Hildy.

    So, I’ll continue to consider the questions and look forward to the opportunities that this next step might bring for CTF and all of us. Happy New Year!

    Deborah

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  6. I confess that Facebook has so changed how I think, that I just keep wanting to click a “like” button on all these thoughts and ideas!

    Carlo and Debbie, the “being” in your answers is so much of it. Which begins to encourage the question, “How will we know?” With content, it is so easy to determine whether or not someone knows it / is proficient at it. With thinking and being and process, the question of “How will that be evidenced? How will we know if someone is able to be what we all sense a faculty member must be?”

    Clearly in addition to being a graduate, being a seasoned participant (someone who comes back a second and third time, going deeper in their learning while simultaneously teaching by example) is important. And some way of identifying practicum-based qualifications.

    And what else? And what might measures be to determine all of this?

    So much to think about – and you guys thinking out loud with us is so helpful. As with all things we do, figuring this out together will make it that much more powerful. So thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  7. Dear Hildy and CTF Consultants and Partners:

    I have only recently stumbled on this website and have been fascinated by it since just before the holiday when I came across it. I never think it is by accident that people with like minds end up together in a chat room or better yet, doing the same work.

    I am excited by all the great feedback and comments offered by the group but equally impressed by the fact that CTF has put this discussion out for comment. I am looking now at the work you are doing and to getting involed in this work and am exploring the TOT offered.This has really spoken to me, to my heart and my desire to be the change in the world that we want to be! Here are my personal thoughts without any real knowledge of your work other than what seems to be some shared values and goals.

    I think that a person entering this work as a facilitator needs to believe in the change process and know what that from personal experience. I think that the belief that change is possible for everyone is essential and that teaching the tools that help others “get there” is the most challenging work we have to do but also the most exciting.

    My personal experience in the consulting and training arena is that “everything works” and that the learning process, if we allow it to floursih naturally, will yield great results even in the most challenging situations. Change from my definition, is a “process” and expecting overnight changes would be unrealistic–but, if on the other hand, we provide the tools, the support and the encouragement for change to occur and the person wants this to occur, then change happens! I have seen this in people who others felt were”hopeless”–imagine that–a peson that we think cannot make a change!

    Someone who is confident but humble and can utilize all the tools at hand–helping to build positive self-concepts in learners and discover how they make a difference can generate the excitment and self-motivation to continue to explore the “what else is possible.” Examples of how the potential facilitator believes they helped change the world, strategies for doing that, approaches taken and information about what motivates them to do this work might be at the core of the very important question about how do we know?

    My congratulations to all of you for the excellent and very real discussion on this topic and I so look forward to meeting and talking with many of you in the upcoming weeks.

    My best to all for a productive 2012!

    Leticia

    Reply
  8. “Confident but humble” – what a great description, Leticia!

    Hildy is asking for more comments, but it’s hard to add much to what is here. Seasoned participant, hands-on practical experience, passionate belief in the approach, facilitating the wisdom in the room instead of being an ‘expert’ – it’s all really, really good. Add maybe:
    – positive feedback from past training/facilitating
    – perceived storytelling ability
    – sense of humour but never at the expense of others
    – willingness to commit some set minimum time per annum – I don’t think one session a year is going to cut it
    – cultural competency, since the more diversity in the room the better
    – broad perspective/experience in terms of community benefit sector (e.g., not just social services), community size/type
    – openness to diverse partnerships (e.g., not anti-corporate or anti-government) in achieving community outcomes

    This is mostly about openness – avoiding biases or pre-conceived solutions that prevent the highest possible outcome from being identified and achieved.

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  9. Not a lot to add to all the wisdom shared already! I have been involved in recruitment of our Unitec teaching team and it is always a complex chemistry not just a simple competency list – as you all have identified! What I have seen as core includes:
    * enough breadth and depth of experience in doing community benefit work to bring not only understanding of context, but trackrecord, credibility, what we call ‘mana’ into the room – a kind of respected authority in the sense of wisdom not ego
    * a broad knowledge of concepts to have a diverse toolbox to draw on in leading/joining/questioning the conversation in the room around key issues – so that it’s not one size fits all
    * which is linked to a passion for learning themselves and a humble, ‘not knower’ mindset that is always curious to keep being a learner compared to seeing themselves as the teacher ‘expert’
    * and lastly, but probably in my view most important are the facilitation skills/mindset. The confidence and competence to work with the wisdom in the room and really engage with questions as much as any ‘answers’, draw out others’ strengths, support them through their fears to facilitate engaged learning. A lot of this takes years of experience to grow – and it is subtly different being a facilitator of an organisation’s planning than facilitating adult education in this context.
    This is somewhat late and not necessarily new, but maybe expressing it all a little differently from downunder!
    All the best with this important next step for CTF.
    MJM

    Reply
  10. Quantifying the skills to educate is a slippery slope. As soon as you have the accepted criteria, it is soon found to be wanting. Too often qualified people are denied opportunities due to arbitrary lists. I hope whatever list is created that there is an opportunity for the truly unique educator to be allowed to “test” in and for open-minded evaluators to let them participate.

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  11. I conducted research in 1997 for the BC Provincial Government into exemplary models of Community Cultural Development world wide. Community Cultural Development is essentially a means to “building better, stronger communities by articulating who you are through art/culture”. During this research I found that some of the strongest, most successful models of CCD were in Australia. The Council of Europe (cultural department – can’t recall the name?) had done research that echoed much of what the Australian models were doing. At the heart of the models was the concept of a paid facilitator or “Cultural Animateur” – someone that had the skill base and corporate memory to facilitate good planning and visioning processes – and then ensure that the policy was a living policy and accountable.

    By paying a skilled facilitator that could work with lay people in the community, they/we found that this was a cost effective, sustainable and most importantly – energizing means of building stronger, healthier communities.

    I would be more than happy to share this research with you – as I believe that it reflects where you are wanting to go.

    Reply
    • This is so helpful, Clare – thank you so much! As we get closer to figuring this all out, we will definitely get hold of you to learn more about your research. Again, many thanks for sharing it!
      Hildy

      Reply
    • Hi All
      when I wrote my comment, I didn’t see all the responses posted. Wow – if that is the kind of thinking going into the criteria for CTF facilitators – I am bowled over and so excited.

      It can sometimes be lonely trying to explain what you envision amidst predominantly “top-down”, hierarchical models of leadership. When one stumbles upon a community of people articulating that vision and pursuing that line of thinking, it is very exciting. I will definitely be following this site. I would also love to know of people from the CTF program working in the Vancouver/Victoria BC area.

      Reply
      • Hi Clare
        I work out of both Victoria BC and Calgary AB and would be happy to chat with you. I’m interested in the research you did, particularly as one of the terms you referenced “Cultural Animateur” is very similar to one we have termed for a project called the WINfinity Framework. You can reach me directly by email to [email protected]

        Thanks!
        Carlo

        Reply

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