I’ve been an early riser for a while but at this time of home isolation, I’ve been getting up earlier than usual around 3:30 am to 4:30 am and feeling as if I’ve had my fill of sleep. I don’t feel tired during the day but if I do, I have a little cat nap in the afternoon. I use the time in the morning to play with the cat and read a chapter or two of the book I’m reading; sometimes I just think but most of the time, I trawl through my Twitter feed looking for some stories to read or interesting tweets to check out.
Lately there’s been a lot more people in my network blogging which is great – I love their writing! However, I wonder why the ‘bug’ of blogging has left me.
Every day, I take snaps using Instagram to capture my thoughts and what I’m doing but video simply doesn’t compare to writing. Writing allows you to express meaning into what you’re going through and unless I sit there and talk in front of the camera ongoing, I’ll never be able to capture my reflections in full.
Besides, my thinking is sporadic, it’s done throughout the day and inspired by what I read, or when I’m out on a walk or just day dreaming.
Instagram is unable to capture all that. That’s why blogging – reflective writing – journal writing – call it what you will is so important for us to be able to make sense and derive some meaning with what’s happening to us at the moment.
I wonder why then, all of a sudden, this blogging bug has been removed from me? It’s not a matter of not having time – I can’t and didn’t use that excuse in the past as I do now.
Time, I have it. I have loads of it. I’m luckier than most and it’s my most precious commodity. No, for me it’s motivation. My motivation for not blogging per se, but something deeper is happening to me now and I have to delve deep to explore why that is.
Admittedly, this Corona virus and self-isolation hasn’t changed my life much at all. The biggest and most sought after for me is that I miss seeing my parents, my brother and my little nephew as we self isolate – especially at this period of not only my birthday but of Greek Easter which is a huge celebration for us.
BC (Before Corona), I would never in my dreams contemplate being away from home over Greek Easter. It’s the one celebration – bigger than Christmas – that every Greek tries to get back to family and follow the ritual. For me, it’s less about the church or its services but more about a time of reflection and then celebration with those you love most around you. This year, that will be denied to many of us and before you say, “yes but you can do that online!” I’ll have to stop you. Yes, I can espouse online but sincerely, family and friendship from close up and personal is best and something that an online delivery will never replace because it involves ALL the senses.
There’s something about being around real people that online can never and will not replace.
This morning there was a Twitter conversation about facilitator skills. I’ve never espoused to the idea that facilitation skills are wasted or irrelevant skills in the area of Learning and Development (or indeed ANY industry).
To me, an expert facilitator is one who can help people tease and form new ideas, link people to ideas and others, a compassionate facilitator can also mirror our behaviours back to ourselves so that we can reflect on our own behaviours. Some of the best facilitators I’ve seen in action had excellent people and communication skills, managed conflict and tension in the room; were compassionate to the needs of the group and had a way of understanding team and individual dynamics that made participants feel included, listened to and empathised with.
Facilitation is a fine art especially if it involves helping people get together to solve and resolve problems; defuse resistance; point out bias and inconsistencies; enable people to consider the affect and effect of their behaviours to a situation.
Facilitators can be found in all industries and professions – not just Learning and Development. To me, when I talk about facilitators, I’m talking about everyone who is in a position to help others, coach, support, assist and guide.
To me, advanced facilitation skills like this in the near future will be needed ever more strongly. In particular, people who can draw out experiential learning experience at work and find ways to have it reflected back to people for further reflection, questioning and discussion. And oh, by the way, these practitioners do not necessarily have a background in learning or training or education – but are simply people who care about others.
If we can’t spend time reflecting on our behaviours and our biases – then we need someone who can help do this for us as a start. That’ll be people who have the knack and the skills to get the best of out of others.
I’m actually thinking F2F facilitator will be stronger than ever. Especially if they have great advanced facilitation, connection skills. Facilitation will always be a great skill to have because they connect people to people.
— Helen Blunden #AlwaysBeLearning 🤔🧠🦉📚🥇 (@ActivateLearn) April 2, 2020
Don’t get me wrong. I’m someone who loves the new and online – you can see it in my work.
I’m first to jump in and try out new technologies but I also understand that these need and must work together not at the expense of us losing our own humanity in the process. They can work alongside and we can have both; for me it’s not a “one or the other” situation. I see them working hand in hand.
As more work goes online or gets replaced with technology, automation and AI, the core skills we need to start to focus on are the skills that have been forgotten or unvalued in the past BC. They were communication, community, compassion, empathy, creativity, collaboration, connection.
Let’s not forget these important human traits and not be as quick to push everyone to be robots or automatons. Also let’s not assume that all delivery methods will be fully replaced by “only” online delivery. It would be beneficial to have a blend that helps bring out the human in us – not because of it being “cheaper” or “faster” but it being “right” for everyone involved.