Calibrate your voice. This just represents the “push” mentality of creating spaces for learning. “We,” those who have power will give you what you need in order to learn and “we” will attempt to control what is allowed into a space. Calibrate your voice… this just instantly did not sit well with me.
I began this post a year ago, and as I was re-reading for this week I still had the same reaction. My educational background is in Communication Studies and while I was earning my master’s degree at CSU, we were pushed and pulled into the world of teaching. Each year we taught sections of Public Speaking and I have taught Public Speaking on and off for the last 15 years. My favorite thing about teaching this course is that you are able to witness people find their public voice and in turn gain confidence that their voice should be heard and spoken. There have been far too many voices that have been marginalized, blocked, forbidden, or threatened throughout history and in the present. Currently, in the age of “fake news” there is a terrifying push for blocking voices, information, and knowledge from the office that has more power and responsibility to protect the right to free speech. We may need to calibrate the energy we put out through our words, but to assume control over a person’s tone tends to just lead to arguments and disagreements.
I entered the educational technology space at the beginning of 2016 and immediately noticed there was a different learning style. There was no learning plan. There was no structure. There was a real collaboration. I can see that I was accustomed to the “push” method of learning, however, I still think there is a need for some foundation of what needs to be learned. Lankshear and Knobel stated:
For learning with a ‘pull’ approach there needs to be a platform to support the new member in their learning. There also needs to be a culture of supporting that social learning. I remember hoping into our companies online Q&A for the first time, spending time reading threads, trying to navigate the culture of the team. It was like stepping into the middle of a conversation without knowing any context. It felt unproductive to be guessing where I should be starting. I continued to ask for input on how to navigate the platform and was met with, “Well, what do you need to know?” The internal and outward statement from a few of us new team members was, “Well, we don’t really know what we don’t know.” Hind sight, I would have asked where to start and the best way to navigate my training and see if this would have produced a more productive and collaborative learning experience.
While I do not think one should be told to calibrate their voice, I do think that in the new era of ‘pull’ learning words and the tone of those words do matter. In an environment where much of communication is typed, texted, or instant messaged there is a lot of room for interpretation and misunderstanding. In a collaborative learning environment, I think it’s important to not assume someone’s attitude, heck we have emoticons to help try to convey tone and meaning. However, honoring when someone is new to a team or organization matter’s if trying to foster a ‘learning to be’ approach. If a person is trying to get to the level of “deep” learning they need to ask basic questions, learn by doing, and build the ability to speak with confidence. Brene Brown, an expert on resilience stated, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” In order to bring passion and persistence to learning, you have to allow people to take risks and think big. In my opinion, many organizations are still struggling with how to let that type of learning evolve within the constraints of ROI, profit, and time.
On a final note for this reading response, there is a need for alone time without technology or people. The smartphone has provided the world with an out for feeling okay with being alone. It’s the crutch as you dine alone at lunch or wait for the subway. Some of my most spontaneous moments have happened when I sit and observe the present moment. Now, I will admit that I often end up talking to the stranger next to me, so I end up not being along. What can I say, I’m an extrovert. However, after a challenging year, I was forced to get quiet and I found it incredibly restorative to just be in solitude. It was in this place of being alone that I finally heard my inner grit telling me to find a new way to passion and perseverance.