Building an action learning guild

One thing that has come, unexpectedly, out of the Brighton Permaculture Trust trainee teacher scheme is a fully formed diploma ‘action learning guild.’  Many of us on the scheme are in the beginning stages of our diploma and trying to find other people in a similar position with whom we can share the pain (and joy, of course) of doing the diploma.  Hedvig and Bryn looked on jealously at a recent trainee teacher’s meeting as our guild formed in about 30 seconds.  “It took me months to find people to form a guild with, ” said Hedvig.

So, what’s a guild for?  Well, it’s about making beneficial connections with other people.  It’s about sharing ideas and challenges, finding out where projects overlap and you can help each other (maximising your edge).  It’s about deadlines, organisation and structure.  It’s about pot luck lunches and maybe a beer afterwards…

My new ALG group and I have been discussing how we would like the ALG to work via our new google group.  I realised that it was the structure aspect of the ALG that was the most important to me.  I want regular meetings and I want them in the diary at least three months ahead and I want to know what we are going to be talking about when we get there.  Five years of working in administration has finally taken its toll.  I’m getting excited by the phrase ‘strategic planning.’  I need the ALG to (benevolently) ‘police’ my diploma.  I need goals set at the end of every meeting and an expectation that I will have met those goals by the next meeting or have a bloody good reason why I haven’t…

My suggestion was that we run the ALG meet ups along the same lines every time:

  1. A catch up – where are people up to with the goals they set last meeting, successes and challenges in the last month.
  2. A short exploration of a ‘theme’ – something not directly connected to anyone’s project that will push our boundaries and help us think about things we might not have ordinarily thought about.
  3. Goal setting – what do we want to achieve by next time.

I really think that the ALG will have a very positive effect on the efficacy of my projects and, as many of my projects are about building a sustainable livelihood, will have a positive effect on my life in general.  Let’s see what happens…

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