‘That is what really good education is about, don’t you agree? That you see your everyday experiences in a different light and you see things that you haven’t thought about before.’
How do you recommend convincing and encouraging people to spend time on learning, reflecting, and thinking in this 24/7/365 world? That is very difficult. People are very, very busy. We’re busy with mundane things like looking at our text messages every three minutes, and that does make deep study and taking long periods of time reading difficult for us. I think it shows how much harder it is for us to allocate time. But every- thing is not just a surface three-line text. We want to have a deeper understanding of our own careers as well as the rest of the world’s issues.
What are examples of the best learning experiences you have observed and/or participated in during meetings and conferences? I always think that the best — and of course I think this because I am a librarian — learning experi- ences, and anyone would tell you this, happen when people remember wonderful stories told by a really good storyteller. This could be an inspiring speaker who tells
interesting stories about people as part of the speech. It could be the story of your partner if you are in a learning situation, an association situation where you are matched up with a partner who shares what they have experienced in their own work life that you realize you can apply to yours. That is, to hear a story directly from someone
either in a speech or while working in a group — a specific idea or technique that you never thought of could surface. That’s what people remember.
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Of course, it’s like a sermon — you remember it if there is a story as part of it that makes you feel a certain way.
What are examples of the best learning experiences you have observed and/or participated in that are not in a traditional classroom setting? For example, I know that you have frequently met with women in Afghanistan. We learn by sharing our experiences with one another. That is the way to get to be close to people. That’s why our best friends are people that we can talk to about our experiences and they won’t necessarily be judgmental. They want to just hear, understand, and listen. This is so important in a learning experience. At the Bush Institute [which, according to
bushcenter.com, “has assembled a team of experts, scholars, business leaders, and practitioners to meet today’s challenges”], we just hosted a group of Egyptian women. We invited them as fellows [to the Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program at the Bush Institute]. We invited all women from Egypt because of the result of research by a professor from SMU and others. This research concludes that if you bring people all from the same country (or organization), when they go home they have each other, they have a network so they can apply and advance their learning. And they not only have each other but they
can introduce each other to their colleagues and their families. So they can very quickly expand