This post is from Mary Palin, Tribes Master and was originally posted at Tribes.com.
To learn requires ‘influence’; to influence others requires knowledge (a synonym for ‘learning’).
Right now, an online discussion is tweeting: the 31 day game. Two educators in Canada (one is also a Tribes TLC trainer) designed a professional learning game that promotes making a choice between two educational realizations. The first game challenged players to make a choice between two compelling videos; the current game considers cooperative learning strategies. Participants are forced to make a choice between the two.
It’s not easy! You might think so, since both of the choices are really good. But that’s not the hard part; what’s hard is voicing one’s opinion – out there for all to read and comment on. That statement is ‘influence’; maybe it will influence others, maybe it will influence a retort, maybe it will influence a challenge to justify.
Just like in a classroom, there are potentially more who observe, watch, sit, or remain silent than those who actively participate, voice opinions, ask, or dispute. Inclusion is easy and inviting and comfortable. Community is a celebration, a feeling, an event. Influence is a challenge, a risk, and one cannot truly learn without it.
Typically, when implementing the Tribes TLC process, “influence” is identified as the opportunity for problem solving, decision making, valuing diversity and resolving conflict. But isn’t that also reminiscent of “learning”? When one learns, whether it is a concept, a skill, or a process, doesn’t that also involve some problem solving, decision making, valuing diversity (other ideas) and resolving conflict – both internal and external? I can tell you from my own recent experience of learning how to ride a motorcycle that it is most certainly is about ‘influence’
I don’t want to do anything stupid or embarrassing or wrong. But if I want to learn, then I have to risk making mistakes, being challenged, and defending my actions and reasons.
Just like those players in the 31 day game; the more we share, ask, challenge, and ‘tweet’, the richer the discussion and the more we learn from each other. So whether it’s in the 31 day game, the classroom, on the playground, among peers, or around the dinner table; be aware that your ‘influence’ is also a potential for others’ (and your own) learning. Plan your response, and before you say (or tweet) it, make it concise and thoughtful.
In Rodd’s (31 Day Game architect) words, “It’s a relatively simple idea that hinges on participation. You really will learn more if you engage in conversation, than if you worry about having the right answer…”