Posts Tagged ‘education’

‘Bottom Up’ is the New Black

November 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Leeds – Dec 1st

Whether it is more ‘civic enterprise’, community engagement or ‘Big Society,’ people with power, but increasingly little money, are looking for new ways to get things done.  The large capital infrastructure projects have not given us more inclusive communities and now we can’t afford them any way, so in some quarters at least interest is shifting from old school top down strategy to a more emergent process of bottom up development.  To processes where large numbers of people can shape their own futures and as a result the futures of the communities that they live in.

But making the shift from top down to bottom up is far from easy….

Over the last few years I have been developing low and no cost approaches to economic, personal and community development leading to new projects such as:

These are my best efforts to provide an infrastructure that allows the private, public, third sector and those of ‘no sector’ to give and get the help that they need to develop enterprising projects and people, and for the development of ‘community’ by building relationships and networks around local activists.  To bring ‘bottom up’ development to life.

This one day masterclass will provide:

  • an overview of the ‘responsive’, bottom up philosophy that underpins each of these projects and its relationship to more commonly found ‘strategic efforts at community development and strategy implementation
  • the implications for strategists and policy developers of the patterns and themes for development that emerge from these bottom up activities
  • practical ‘warts and all’ insights into each of the 5 projects listed above including their progress, impact and cost base
  • an exploration of the links between the various projects and how they work together to provide an infrastructure for progress
  • an overview of the factors that drive their development and an exploration of how these can be managed
  • insights into how the projects manage social inclusion
  • opportunities to explore how these projects can be used to inform economic, community and personal development in your own area.

Who Should Attend?

  • Professionals and practitioners interested in new apporaches to economic and community development
  • Councillors and lcoal authority staff with responsibility for neighbourhoods and community
  • Representatives from the private sector with an interest in community and neighbourhood development, corporate social repsonsibility or looking to develop links with their community
  • Funders looking for new ideas in community development and regneration
  • Local people looking for affordable and accessible approaches to community development
Find out more and book your place here –
First 15 to book get 50% off.

The End of (Enterprise) Education?

June 29, 2009 1 comment

My eldest daughter came home from school last week with something like 10kg of university prospectuses.  She spent much of the week-end browsing the frightening range of courses available. 

And it got me thinking about whether the compulsory education that she has experienced so far, all 13 years of it, have really provided her with an excellent platform for wealth and fulfillment in her adult life.  And the result of my pondering was:

  1. As a premise I believe that education is at its best when it socialises people into the obligations and freedoms of active citizenship, and immunises them against imprisonment by the gilded cages of consumerism.  So why does so much (enterprise) education appear to be about the development of the next generation of employer fodder/entrepreneurs/snake oil sellers?
  2. Is this because we are failing to teach the real meaning of ‘social enterprise’ now that it has become embedded in what Todd Hannula describes as ‘agency led mush’
  3. Have we ever properly taught the notion of social enterprise?  Is it really more the the pursuit of ‘enlightened self interest’ in the marketplace?
  4. To release prodigious human energies and good will we must learn how to help people find powerful narratives that give meaning and direction to their lives.  
  5. We must help them to learn about themselves at least as much as we should help them learn about the world outside of them.
  6. We must encourage them to explore what they love and who they can become in pursuit of their potential.
  7. We must educate them to properly understand their own self interest and how this fits with the self interest of others in a mutually sustainable and progressive community. 
  8. We must help them to become experts in using power in pursuit of mutual self interest.
  9. We must help them to build their power in creating the kind of future that they want to see for themselves and for the diverse communities that live on spaceship earth.

Perhaps consideration of these statements might just help us to realise ‘the end of (enterprise) education’.

Teaching Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (or any other Significant Learning)

When I did my teacher training back in 1986 I remember having my world rocked by a book called ‘Teaching as a Subversive Activity’ by Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner.   They make reference to a piece by Carl Rogers in ‘On Becoming a Person’.

“Rogers concludes:

  1. My experience has been that I cannot teach another person how to teach.
  2. It seems to me that anything that can be taught to another is relatively inconsequential, and has little or no significant impact on behavior.
  3. I realize increasingly that I am only interested in learnings which significantly influence behavior
  4. I have come to feel that the only learning which significantly influences behavior is self-discovered, self appropriated learning.
  5. Such self-discovered, truth that has been personally appropriated and assimilated in experience, cannot be directly communicated to another.
  6. As a consequence I have realised that I have lost interest in being a teacher

Rogers goes on to state that the outcomes of trying to teach are either unimportant or hurtful and that he is only interested in being a learner.  Some of our students react to this statement snidely, claiming that Rogers feels this way because he is a bad teacher.  Honest, but bad.  Others seem deeply disturbed by it and seek clarification on what Rogers means by ‘significant learning’.  We then produce Roger’s definition of the term, which is stated in the form of specific behaviours.  They include:

The person comes to see himself differently.

He accepts himself and his feelings more fully.

He becomes more self-confident and self directing.

He becomes more the person he would like to be.

He becomes more flexible, less rigid in his perceptions.

He adopts more realistic goals for himself.

He behaves in a more mature fashion.

He becomes more open to the evidence, both of what is going on outside of himself and what is going on inside of himself.”

Powerful stuff.  What Rogers seems to be saying is that what we can teach, in the traditional sense is more or less trivial.  However what the student can learn from the process is potentially transformational.

I think Rogers was onto something here, something that is particularlypowerful for those of us charges with ‘teaching enterprise’.  If we really want to develop more enterprising students then perhaps we should focus less on classes about marketing, branding, cash flow and taxation and more on providing and reviewing experiences that are designed to develop ‘Significant Learning’.

Because Rogers’ definition of  ‘Significant Learning’  looks a lot like ‘more enterprising’ to me.