I’m reading Cassandra Speaks by Elizabeth Lesse

r. I listened to the podcast with Brene Brown. This TED talk again expressed the thing that troubles me. I know people are concerned about the respective issues we have with one another. The extreme divisiveness and righteousness. I can be the worst.

I shake my head when my social media feed reveals the political leanings of people I love as humans, but don’t agree with. It’s kept me off social media lately. I am not entirely avoiding it and still find myself expressing my standpoint with a like here and there. It’s a swamp for alienating people really, which is pretty unhelpful to the things that matter to me like learning and connection.

I’m glad I did that Theory of Enchantment course earlier this year. I am still practising and learning and have the three principles on my notice board to remind me each day.

How do I learn?

I’ve started a MOOC (massive open online course) on Coursera : What Future for Education? and the first topic is ‘How do we learn?’. There is a reflection before accessing the materials as follows:

Reflect on previous successful learning experiences and unsuccessful ones and what it tells you about your prefered ways to learn.

I’ve had a lot of learning experiences these are some recent ones.

Through The VRI project, I learn so much, trying lots of things and acting on the feedback. I consulted brilliant people from a wide range of our community. I made lots of mistakes in all kinds of ways and had to reflect and ask for help. People helped me to learn how as well as assisting me with that project. I’m writing the experience into a book and as I go through my journals and memories, I’m reflecting on how fortunate I have been to have this experience, how generous people around me have been with listening and assisting me to grow through it.

An unsuccessful learning experience I’ve recently had was a course I started that I quit. I quit because the teacher wasn’t engaging and I felt I had already heard what was being covered. It wasn’t right for me so I stopped. It may have been a good piece of paper to add to my resume, but there are many choices of things to learn, I said no so I could say yes to another choice.

I completed an online course recently called ‘Theory of Enchantment‘. I did the novice course and took a while to complete it because there was a lot of reflection to do. I enjoyed the course material, which came from popular culture. I feel like I am continuing to appreciate what I learnt and I know I want to practice from spending time with that course.

Sometimes when I’m learning something new I feel like I’m not making much progress. I’m trying to learn Portuguese because I have a new family member from Brazil, who speaks great English and I would like to speak to him in his language too. I’m learning via Duolingo and some days I am absolutely distracted but I intend and mostly do at least one exercise everyday. Until I quit, I will keep learning more. Sometimes I cheat and in messages use Google translate to pretend I’ve learnt more than I have. I always let him know eventually.

This tells me I like to have a purpose for my learning and a desire or need to learn it. I like learning by attempting and getting feedback, learning from mentors or people who have different expertise and experience. I like learning in a team and alone. Reading or finding more information is usually a part of my process that I enjoy. Reflection deepens the learning for me, I need to have time and space to review what I’ve learnt and have a good think about it.

Plastic and other conversations

Plastic free July starts today.  I’m impressed with the efforts by those around me to take up the challenge. We had Tammy from Gippsland Unwrapped come to speak to us at The VRI Sunday Talk last month. She told us about her first time challenge and her ongoing quest to reduce plastic in her life. Her approach and the consistent way she has worked towards making a difference in her personal life was motivating. She has some great resources on her blog if you are considering it.

It’s an empowering feeling to act on an issue you have with the world. We all have things we feel strongly about. When I scroll through my Facebook feed I read the many ways people want change. I respect the efforts others go to, such as Tammy and those joining her in reducing waste, to be the change. I have switched to a bamboo toothbrush (compliments of my wonderful daughter) and will take my own bags to our 50 Mile Farmers Market tomorrow. I still have a long way to go though.

50 Mile Farmers Market @The VRI

I was at the VicHealth Latrobe Community Challenge workshop today with a group of people – all passionate about projects to make a difference. At lunch we had a conversation about cling wrap and it’s overuse, when my friend chose a serviette over a plastic bowl for her lunch because she is taking up the challenge. I looked at my plastic bowl and thought oops. I’ll make a better choice next time. It is actions that make change and surrounding yourself with good role models :).

The VicHealth Community Challenge led by Spark Strategy has been interesting and we have grown our ideas much faster than we could have without it. They have shared this great toolkit – DIY – Development, Impact & You. So many great tools !  I’ve been reflecting on my practices in the last couple of months and getting lots of new tools. I attended Telstra Imaginarium facilitated by Thick nearly a month ago and whilst I missed some sessions due to a cold that swept through The VRI taking it’s turn with each of us, I gained some great resources there. I met people from non-profits across Victoria who are working with new tools to solve problems.