At home in Canada, what with our narrow entrance way, I was always after my kids and their friends to keep their shoes to the sides. But no, inevitably the shoes would end up smack in the middle of the entrance way. I lost count of how many times I tripped over them.
Now in my new home, Kenya, it turns out, no matter how big your entrance way is, people will spread their shoes around to take up the greatest possible amount of space.
And so it goes with living and learning. Here are 4 more things I’m learning about life here and how they relate to training and development (for the first 4 see the last post ‘there’s a 6 foot long green snake living in my banana tree.’)
5. Look for the universal:
No matter where you find yourself on this vast planet or who you’re with when you’re there, some things are universal.
It can help to look for similarities and what’s familiar, like:
- in my case a messy entranceway
- all the moms in the store who were dutifully deciphering the school supply lists (I have yet to see a school supply shopping trip full of dads)
- finding hot chocolate (my beloved drink, as a non-coffee or tea drinker)
Turns out finding good trainers who know their stuff is as hard here as elsewhere. One of the first conversations I had when I got here was with a UN staff person over this very topic. Knowing how to teach in engaging, sticky ways, with attention to transfer of learning is a sought after skill.
6. Seek out ‘other’, seek out ‘different’
Balance looking for same with seeking difference.
My biggest example of difference so far has been when I couldn’t track my kid down after school for two (gray hair inducing, stomach wrenching, gut churning) hours. Nairobi is a high security place and, to my relief and amazement, things kicked into HIGH GEAR.
Teachers called all the bus drivers in case he had got on the wrong bus. The school was searched. Friends called hospitals and the U.N. security. A friend and I drove around and talked to security guards.
And then blessed relief. The kind that is sweeter than the sweetest sugar. ‘We’ve got him,‘ the teacher on the phone said, ‘do you want to talk to him?’ He’d been hanging out with some friends, completely unconcerned and unknowing.
While I don’t recommend this gut clenching kind of difference, do seek out what makes you curious, what makes your eyebrows rise and your head tilt in confusion. It’s a whole other world of learning.
7. Challenge long held beliefs
I am a vehement non-coffee drinker and non-tea drinker. Not because of any high ideals and health concerns, I simply don’t like the taste.
And then I tried Ginger tea here (admittedly short on the ginger and with extra sugar). Wow! I can get used to this stuff.
Challenge your long held beliefs from time to time. It’ll shake up you, your learning, your training and your participants.
8. Transfer your learning
Learning to work. Working to play. Playing to love. It’s all a mishmash.
Transfer your learning to home, work and play.
For example, how does learning about your entranceway inform your work? In my case it made me think of what is universal.
As I finish writing this post I’m sitting in the UN cafeteria having spent some of the day planning my role in AIESEC’s 2011 Global Youth to Business Forum which I’m co-hosting next week. A little fun, a little work, a little play will make for some great transfer of learning.
Stay tuned. In my next post I’ll share the last of this three part series.