An Homage to ‘Learning Omnivores’ Everywhere
This past weekend a group of like-minded folks who call themselves the ‘Learning Omnivores’ will have met and learned together. I was blessed to be invited to this group a few years ago by one of the founders. It’s a group of folks from all over the USA who take time to co-learn face-to-face.
And they just made it up. The group created itself from nothing. One of the characteristics of the group - principals, district administrators, directors of educational research organizations, board members, non-profit heads, teacher leaders, consultants and others - that I find most fabulous is their resourcefulness. Educators who realized they wanted to learn with each other - so they made it happen in a way that worked for them.
We, Learning Omnivores, read the newest books and research, and think, “Who would we want to learn from and with?“ And we decide. One of us calls up the individual and invites him or her to share their work. We read the person’s work, we fly to where they live (from Boston to Whidbey Island and elsewhere), we put ourselves up in hotels, we rent cars to meet them wherever they choose, and when the individual completes his or her facilitation, we process applications of learning to our own contexts during dinner conversations. We make it happen.
Initially, I was surprised by this group and its structure. I didn’t see my colleagues doing this as often as I had hungered for in my career. (Twitter chats have been the closest I see to this type community, and while I participate in chats, it isn’t the same for me as face to face learning.) The individuals in this group take initiative, they are pro-active, they enjoy learning together, they are the best group members. They are the people you want to sit next to in a workshop. The logistics get arranged. Invitations get sent out via email, hotel rooms blocked, food brought in, conference rooms booked. And the learning happens. It is the dream PLC that I think any of us can create in our regions and cities.
I have learned much from the professors and authors who have presented to us, and what inspires me even more is the group itself. They are the embodiment of self-directed learning. They ask, “Who do we want to learn from and with?” and then they create the experience. Vision and implementation.
Because of this group, I feel more confident and empowered to create from scratch. I try to learn outside and around a conference, not just during one – I ask session leaders to breakfast, lunch, dinner. I am Project Runway’s Tim Gunn personified. I ‘make it work.’ An empowering feeling. What do you want to learn next and with whom?
If you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions, please feel free to email me at Jennifer@jenniferabrams.com. I look forward to hearing from you!
Brain Pickings – “Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are.” Always intriguing and cutting edge.
The Writers Room on the Sundance Channel – “With shocking and sometimes hilariously candid conversations, The Writers' Room gives you a never-before-seen window into your favorite shows. This season, Jim puts it all on the table with the writers and key cast members of Scandal, House of Cards, Sons of Anarchy The Good Wife and Pretty Little Liars. New episodes air Fridays 9PM/8c.” So fun to go ‘behind the scenes.’
Mindful Magazine – “Mindful.org is the leading website dedicated to the best of mindfulness-based practices and a community for growing the movement. Mindful.org is dedicated to giving voice, inspiration, guidance, and connection to all those who want to enjoy the proven benefits of mindfulness practices and to create a more mindful and caring society.” I have a friend adding mindfulness to a middle school class and this is a go to resource.
Hello, Stranger – A great article on connection from the New York Times by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton. It speaks to how “even the bit players in our lives may influence our well-being.” We need to say hello much more often in the hallways!
Each month I will share with you information about a few of my upcoming trainings.
If I am going to be in your area, contact me so we can say hello, hopefully in person!
Leadership Skills for Preceptors and Charge Nurses
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula
Building Relationships: Trust and Communication Skills
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula
Key Collaboration, Coaching and Observation Skills
Department Chairs Training
Kehillah Jewish High School
Palo Alto, CA
Having Hard Conversations, Generational Savvy, Etc.
Hawker Brownlow Education Thinking and Learning Conference
For additional upcoming events, please visit my Web site.
Until next time!
Feel free to forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues. You may reprint this newsletter whole or quote with attribution to Jennifer Abrams and a link to www.jenniferabrams.com