#Change11 A story for you

This is a time for Change11, to tell a story.

What is my story? I wasn’t as lucky as Joe, but I know that I could make up one fairy tale story, rather than a real one.  However, I have been offered voluntary redundancy once, so I understand how it feels, to lose one’s job.

Here is The situation: Wonderland-in Blogoland

One Monday evening the following conversation took place over a virtual chat room:

Paul: I don’t feel that I’m really a competent educator.  Sometimes I…

Educator: (Interrupted) You don’t feel competent? What do you mean?

Paul: As I was going to say, sometimes I feel intimidated by my friend and…

Educator: You feel intimated? What’s it? Why didn’t you try this way?.. bla bla bla… I couldn’t believe it! You fail if you are intimidated by other people. You will not be respected in future.  Bla bla bla…

Paul: I am trying to explain this to you – (Paul RAISED his VOICE) it’s because my hands and feet are tied…

Educator: Your hands and feet are tied?  I don’t understand! You mean you can’t control your emotions? May be you are not tough enough in controlling yourself when you are feeling anxious? Aren’t you?

Paul: I don’t think so. Last week, my friend agreed to work with me on a project that needed to be completed on-time, the project X with a Client.  He left work early when I specifically instructed him to finish an important task he was doing before he went home.  The task wasn’t completed, and I was left accountable for the mess he had created…

Educator: (Interrupted…) You felt angry, betrayed, and would obviously have reprimanded him. I’m sure that you would like to scream to express your anger.

Paul: No, actually, I felt disappointed in myself; I was hurt and embarrassed. I shouldn’t have left it like that…

Educator: But aren’t you really angry and just afraid of expressing it?

Paul: I said I wasn’t, and I don’t appreciate being analyzed when I come to you with..

Educator: Are you feeling uncomfortable with my judgment? I am an educator, do trust me….

Paul: I really don’t want to discuss this any more.  You just don’t listen to me!

Educator:  Oh! then…

Do this sound familiar to you? The educator was puzzled a bit on the responses from Paul and tried to figure out the reasons.

If you were the educator, what were the reasons of such poor communication in the chat room?

How would you respond instead?

The above was a case that I designed and responded to it myself more than 15 years ago.  Is that authentic learning?

Take it as a funny story.  I could share my analysis and response in later posts, if that is your wish.  But you could make up your story to continue with this conversation, with an improved version, thus helping the educator to improve his communication skills.

How about your story?

John

 

4 thoughts on “#Change11 A story for you

  1. Paul’s story is ambiguous and unresolved. In my mind, education has become so much about “correct” answers that ambiguity has lost its place as a species of knowing. The educator seems to want to help Paul by showing him a path to resolving the problem and I sense Paul isn’t ready to close the problem. And sometimes the answer never comes, the story doesn’t end and our knowing collapses around us.

    How do we teach people that the path never ends? That knowing this is a great gift?

    That’s not really a story–I’ll try again later.

    Thanks for this blog post.

  2. Thanks Scott for your sharing of valuable insights. Everyone has a story, and yes, there is no “one” correct answer. This sort of story happens around us (myself inclusive) all the time, and I do find it challenging to resolve. I have lots of real life stories relating to poor communication, but am concerned when they relate to actual learners’ stories, as that could be problematic in relating them in virtual spaces. So fictitious case stories may be a better alternative to tell the stories. What seems to be a problem relate to poor listening and inability to resolve conflicts in the virtual space. (Refer to my other post on Conflict resolution), any interest?
    John

  3. Yes I’m interested. Went to the Conflict Resolution video site and left a reply. Have had a number of negative online experiences to the point, even though my job is to build online courses, I will not “take” online classes from an educational institution for credit ever again. Will have to think of how to fictionalize the experiences and come back shortly.

    How our identities function in virtual space my not be as much of a difficulty for younger people? I’m not sure. As an older person with feet in both the virtual and pre-virtual world I find myself maybe oversensitive to official encounters online and am curious why.

  4. Pingback: #Change11 A story for you – Part II | Learner Weblog

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