Last Saturday I co-facilitated a fantastic workshop with my newest friend, Morgan. Although Facebook says we have 500 people in common, we first met at my book talk in February. Since then she probably read my book more closely than I have. (see photo; she literally ran out of green flags and had to switch to yellow ones)
Morgan is member of a collective bike kitchen in East Oakland. In that capacity she helped plan the Bici Bici gathering of radical bike mechanics at Spokeland, itself a radical bike space in Oakland. Morgan arranged for us to teach a workshop on “Effective Teaching,” to improve the quality of instruction at bike shops.
Together we planned a workshop that focused on the discomfort zone & emotional leadership; teaching in different ways; and having a strong finish. To make a long story short, folks from around the state came to the workshop. We had an engaging and enlightening talk on all three subjects.
My favorite checkout is to ask participants what they found most useful from the workshop. One of the answers that surprised me was hearing how relieved people were to learn that teachers often teach a certain way because that’s how they learn best – not because they consciously chose the technique they thought would be most effective. (Imagine a bike mechanic who learned how to fix bikes by having someone model what to do for him, and now he teaches everyone by physically showing them what to do.) I think they found it reassuring to know that when these folks used teaching techniques that didn’t work for them it was simply due to that limitation. No one had shown them how to teach someone with videos from the internet, or an illustrated how-to book, or by having people repeat the correct steps over and over again…
Morgan was pretty much the best possible co-pilot for this workshop. I got to introduce specific sections with a vague platitude (the discomfort zone is important) and then Morgan would use an actual experience she’s had in the shop to illustrate it for the participants. It was great.
I’d love to do another workshop with Morgan, but she probably doesn’t need my help. But let me know if you want to organize a training for me to come to! I make a pretty good co-pilot, too =)