Friday, December 10, 2021

Teaching in the Year Ahead

When the pandemic arrived in March 2020, I was pretty much dead in the water regarding my consulting and teaching—as everything I'd done since 1987 had been anchored by in-person work. To be sure it was augmented by phone calls and email, but the root was face-to-face meetings and consultations, and that was suddenly off the table.

Then, like many others, I reinvented my delivery, as I immersed myself in the possibilities of Zoom and videoconferencing. To my surprise, I've been able to deliver quality product in that medium beyond my expectations. While it's not the same as face-to-face, it's a decent substitute, and clients are happy to save on my travel costs. The key to this working is that I'm still able to read the energy accurately—based largely on facial expressions and voice tone—despite having fewer visual cues to work with.

So, while I have not yet met in person with a single client or group of students since March 2020, I have never been busier, and I am happily reporting here on the variety of learning opportunities I am offering in the coming 12 months:

Facilitation Training

I was in the midst of delivering two versions of my two-year intensive training program (where students in a geographic area gather for eight 3-day weekends spaced about three months apart) when COVID arrived (man plans and the gods laugh) and we hit the pause button on the training weekends. Then we started experimenting with Zoom and figured out a way to restart the trainings. In fact, it went so well that we launched an all-Zoom training program as well—the same material and the same time commitment, all delivered via Zoom.

As I have a firm boundary of not conducting more than three courses concurrently, I am fully subscribed at present. That said, my BC-based training will end in March and my NC-based training will draw to a close in April, which opens things up. Although the end of social distancing appears uncertain, I expect to be launching one or two new training programs by late spring—probably by Zoom, but I want to remain open to what the public health situation is at that time before making final decisions about set up

If you are interested in information about new facilitation training offerings, please send me an email (letting me know where you live) and I'll keep you informed; Classes fill on a first-come-first-served basis.

Process Webinars

Last year I collaborated with the Foundation for Intentional Community (FIC) to offer two 10-hour webinar series: one on Facilitation and the other on Conflict. They went so well that these will be offered again in 2022, along with three new ones: Consensus 101 (for beginners), Consensus 201 (for folks who've taken the first course or have prior living experience with Consensus and have run into difficulties), Membership (all aspects of this key concept in community living, and the team that is asked to manage it).

All webinars will be delivered over five consecutive weeks (on the same day of the week) in 2-hour chunks via Zoom. There are discounts available if you sign up for multiple courses.

Here is the schedule, with hyperlinks to registration. Note that all courses will be offered twice, and on different days.

Consensus 101 for Cooperative Groups • Jan 4-Feb 1 (Tuesdays); Sept 15-Oct 13 (Thursdays)

Consensus 201: Places Groups Get Stuck & How to Get Unstuck • Feb 15-March 15 (Tuesdays); Oct 26-Nov 23 (Wednesdays)

Designing a Community Membership Process • Jan 6-Feb 3 (Thursdays); May 10-June 7 (Tuesdays)

The Art of Facilitation for Cooperative Groups • Feb 17-March 17 (Thursdays); Sept 13-Oct 11 (Tuesdays)

Working Constructively with Conflict in Community • March 31-April 28 (Thursdays); Oct 25-Nov 23 (Tuesdays)

In addition there will be 1-hour teasers offered next week for both the Consensus 101 and Membership webinars as follows:

Understanding How Consensus Works in Cooperative Groups • Dec 15 (noon Central)

7 Membership Questions All communities Should Address • Dec 16 (noon Central)

Workshops at the National Cohousing Conference • Aug 25-28, 2022 in Madison WI

I recently submitted proposals for a dozen different workshop possibilities for this event, and the organizers are mulling over which to accept. Once that's determined, I'll let you know. I'm hopeful of attending this event live, which means there will be room around the edges for conversations with others at the event, not just what you can glean from a Zoom screen. I hope to see you there!

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