Two “seriously fun” events to advance your teaching and learning practice

In February 2017, BCcampus invites you to join us for one or two exciting workshops that invite you to think visually and creatively about facilitation, engagement, and learning.

VizEd: Going Visual in Post-Secondary Educationvized-copy

Facilitated by Nancy White and Tracy Kelly, participants will experience an active, fun, full day of drawing and exploring practices for going visual with in our teaching and learning work. No art experience necessary! Workshop dates: February 1, 2017.

Registration is open, and space is limited! Early Bird is open until Nov. 15, 2016.

Liberating Structures

Liberating StructuresLiberating Structures are a collection of powerful facilitation strategies that can be used in our classrooms, everyday meetings, strategic planning sessions, workshops, presentations, etc. They are seriously fun methods to engage and work together.

In this two-day workshop, Nancy White will lead us through fun and unique ways to support and advance learning, organizational development, teamwork, and more. Participants will learn how to choose, facilitate, and sequence Liberating Structures for their individual facilitation challenges and contexts. Workshop dates: February 22 – 23, 2017.

Registration is open, but space is limited! Early Bird is open until Nov. 15, 2016, register early and save! Groups of 4 or more from the same institution get a discount – contact for more information.

Q&A with Nancy White, practitioner, choco-queen and grandma:

You have been a pioneer and leader in the use of Visual Practices for some time – what keeps you doing that work?  

Nancy White
Nancy White, facilitating a Liberating Structures workshop

Well, I blush a bit at the label of “pioneer” because I came into it consciously rather late in my career, but upon reflection, I’ve been doodling as a way to make sense of the world for 30 years or more. I just didn’t know what I was doing. But this unconscious element of how our brain uses visuals to pay attention, to think and explore is why I keep doing the work. We can bring more of ourselves and our gifts to the work by including visuals—and the shared creation of visuals. That and visuals add vibrancy, beauty and life to group process, and that is a win.

Can you tell us about one of your favourite moments in a visual practice/graphic facilitation workshop?

YES! Usually these sorts of questions challenge me, but the “I Can Draw” segment which I learned from the wonderful practitioners at the International Forum of Visual Practitioners always brings an “aha!” moment about how we all CAN draw, and what beauty and vibrancy that brings to the room. I was leading a workshop at a research institute in South Africa years ago and my host could not believe that even the SCIENTISTS were getting into it. Many of us have suppressed our inner artists for so long!

Some people find the term “Liberating Structures” hard to understand—can you explain what it is/they are, in a nutshell?

Sure… just like “I CAN DRAW” liberates our inner artists, Liberating Structures give us tangible ways to “productively include and unleash everyone.” (From the LS website). One of the concepts of LS that has really helped me understand this in practice is that LS help us with that group interaction space that is neither over nor under constrained. For example, a lecture is over-constrained in terms of engaging and unleashing people. A free-for-all open discussion, or as founder Keith McCandless calls it, a “goat rodeo,” under-constrains and in the chaos we lose our ability to get the work done. We want to liberate ourselves in the sweet spot in between.

How does that relate to education?

For education, let’s make sure we include everything in and OUTSIDE of the classroom. Inside the classroom LS give professors new ways to both understand their students, create space for students to understand the topic, and build productive habits for learning and applying learning. For example, a group of us have been working with professors at the University of Guadalajara with the Agora Project. We did a SUPER brief introductory studio on Liberating Structures focusing on three structures: Impromptu Networking, Troika Consulting and “Mad Tea” (which is an emerging structure, not yet one of the fully described structures!) Over the past months the professors have been integrating these into their classrooms and two of the key things they report is a) students come alive and engage in the classroom and b) they are more quickly and deeply mastering the material because they are engaged with it and with each other. Furthermore, some of the professors relate that they have better relationships with their students. I’d call that liberating!

Outside the classroom LS can help in everyday institutional processes and meetings, in the design of both curriculum and work and other things we have to do all the time. They can make what used to be horrid meetings into seriously productive fun. Step a little further “outside” and as we all learn and master LS in the institutional context, we can then carry it out into other parts of our lives. So it is an extra bonus. We build our own capacity to liberate each other everywhere we go.

These two events follow each other one after the other—do they relate to each other and would people benefit from doing both?

Beyond economies of scale and travel time? Smile. Yes, they relate. They are both about liberating our best selves into our work. Plus, Tracy and I are playing with the intersection of visual practices and Liberating Structures. We may prototype some of our new ideas, and ideas of other practitioners in the VizEd workshop, and certainly integrate visual practices into the LS workshop. So if you come to both, be prepared for some visual resonance!

Notable quote

“These are “bucket list” PD/learning opportunities in my experience. Both Visual Practice and Liberating Structures (separately, and together) have transformed and improved my practice both f2f and online.  And, with Nancy White facilitating, you are guaranteed to have a very fun, very active, very rich day of learning and discovery. Nancy brings so much deep and current experience and creativity with both Visual Practices and Liberating Structures that no matter where you are on your journey—novice to expert—you will get value out of these days.” – Tracy Kelly, Manager, Professional Learning, BCcampus

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