Tag: learning

The Single Sheet of Paper

October 18th, 2011

In this short video I demonstrate an innovative, highly effective approach to engaging young people.

I’ve been testing The Single Sheet for several years with a variety of age groups and messages. I’ve also helped organizations implement this method to increase engagement with their own messages. I recently filmed one of my presentations to demonstrate The Single Sheet in action. This video features highlights from that presentation.

The Single Sheet process engages people at a deeper level with a wide range of important messages. During this presentation we discuss the prevention message, “Avoid the use of alcohol.”

Know that the students’ thoughtful, insightful comments you see here are spontaneous. I didn’t prompt them to say anything.

Post this link to your organization’s website and Facebook page and help broaden the conversation about the how we can better engage people.

I’m grateful to my friend, a courageous educator, Heather Johnson, for furnishing her classroom, and to the students who participated!

    Platform shoes, organic soda, and the value of dissonance for learning

    March 23rd, 2011

    This is a version of an activity I use in my training that you can use with your team.

    Have each person study this picture:

    Notice the platform shoes and can of organic soda. They are both sitting on top of a garbage receptacle. Next, have each person craft a story to explain how these items may have come to sit together. Compare the stories.

    Why is this activity beneficial?

    When we experience dissonance—the clashing together of two or more seemingly unrelated elements—it ignites our curiosity and mobilizes important learning tools. We immediately begin to develop a host of questions and possible explanations in an effort to resolve the dissonance.

    Use dissonance to increase engagement with your message. For you, your message is a coherent, harmonic story lacking dissonance. But this isn’t the case for your audience. Your message appears to your audience like the picture. There’s dissonance. Use this to fuel learning.

    In the same way you tried to make sense of this picture, your audience will naturally try to resolve their dissonance with your message. They will ask questions. Make comments. Sit in silence. Talk to each other. Challenge what you say. These are tools we all use to transform dissonance into harmony.

    Furnish the right answer (if there is one) and you will negate this entire process. Trust that the people you work with, no matter what age, possess the abilities necessary to create harmony.

    The result of this process is a new, clear understanding that changes how we see the world. What was foreign becomes familiar. The dissonance leads discovery. Eureka!

      Kindling the Curious: Whitey’s Tour of Trees

      November 17th, 2009

      I was running along a trail in the mountains a couple months ago when a woman walking in the opposite direction stopped me. “Have you seen Whitey Lueck?” she asked. “He usually travels up here on Thursdays to walk, but he doesn’t use trails.” She provided a physical description that didn’t resemble anyone I had seen. I pondered how I was supposed to spy him if he didn’t use trails. Cascade forests are dense. I spared her my musings and simply answered, “No, I’ve not seen him. If I do, I’ll say you’re looking for him.” We parted ways.

      A couple weeks ago I received an email about a tree tour at the University of Oregon hosted by none other than Whitey Lueck. What a coincidence! Far from the mythical, hobbit-like person I pictured, Whitey is a well-known, well-respected local naturalist and all around outdoor guru. He knows more about trees than I expect I’ll ever gather about a single subject. I signed my family up.

      Two elements of Whitey’s tour particularly intrigued me. The first was the simplicity of the curriculum: trees. Whitey took us from one tree to the next, gave us a few interesting facts about each, then invited questions. The second striking aspect was his wholesale engagement in his subject matter. Whitey’s interest, passion, and knowledge were unmistakable and inspiring.

      Our tour group comprised a blend of adults and children. Kids are natural learners. Curiosity is in their being. One need not teach them to learn. They want to know and make meaning of what they see and experience. Their questions are often pure, unrefined, and earnest. They want to suck meaning out of things to satisfy their curiosity, an appetite I find contagious.

      I encourage you to take a tour, with children, if possible. Note what made the tour helpful or unhelpful. I’m a believer that the qualities of a good tour guide are the same qualities that are central to good teachers, parents, and managers. You will see this most clearly in how he or she responds to the questions people ask. The best tour guides welcome questions and contributions from the group. Second, notice the children’s questions. How would you describe them? Study their faces and notice what curiosity looks like. This is how we get close to curious and how we rekindle it within ourselves.