Book preview: celebrity

Leslie’s Blog

Book preview: celebrity

January 4th, 2010

This post is an excerpt from my emerging book on Vibrational Facilitation: an emerging conversation.  Alright, I know everything is emerging …that’s the point!  The thoughts are forming, the grammar’s not the best, but this quickly emerging field of vibrational facilitation is…well emerging quickly…so jump in an be a part of it.  Let’s get started…

I must say, I’m pretty surprised at the title of the first chapter.  Something arose in class today that jolted this entire process into action. In response, the first conversation with myself is about celebrity, what it does in the classroom (or anywhere else the dynamic shows up), and how to manage/utilize it for the greater good.

In all of my classes, I constantly seek feedback.  Participants write it on cards, it’s anonymous, and they tell me something specifically that I did well that day that helped them to learn.  Then they tell me something very specifically that I could do for them the next day that would make it even better for them, to make it even better.  It is their learning after all and I am simply the facilitator of their learning so I need to know what’s going on.

On a feedback card, a student wrote about the apparent ‘clique’ of students who have worked with me in the past, and how some of the newcomers were actually feeling excluded or separate from this group.  As I read this piece of feedback out to the class the next morning, there was an immediate stirring of conversation.  Several of the veteran students who have worked with me before, jumped in (I could call it defensively…) to explain further what they really meant about this clique – this ‘Cult of Leslie’ they called it.  I moved from ‘caution’ to ‘alert’ when I heard this wording.

Several people said, ‘Yeah, it is. It’s like a Leslie Clique. It’s a Leslie Cult’ and it’s like they have inside knowledge, they’ve been through an initiation of ‘extreme andragogy’ or things vibrational.  They were feeling very much like they were on the inside of something.  They were very enthusiastic and very excited that others were about to go through this process, which I could see as a ‘good thing’.  Yet, in their enthusiasm, they were setting up a very different dynamic in the class.  One that excluded the others, that frustrated the others, made them feel ‘lesser than’ because they knew that there was something they needed to ‘get’ but they had no idea what it was or how to get it!

This place of having my own ‘cult’ it would seem then provided me with a very interesting energetic positioning.  The ego part of self, that misplaced, incorrect place, energetically speaking, was like, “Wow, I’ve got a cult!  How cool is that?”  Every other part of me was on high alert and concern about the incorrectness of this position.  There is no power there.  This is NOT a place from which to model the subtle nuances of facilitating adult learning.  We’ve had far too much of that in our school systems.

We’re used to being followers and fans in this culture of ours where every movie star has their fan club.  On Facebook, ‘I’m a fan of that’ or ‘I’m not a fan of that’ is the kind of languaging that we get on this world of texting and instant messaging.

And so I charged the class with walking their own talk rather than following me.  By all means, keep observing and learning from me and from each other, but when they put themselves in the position of being the ‘follower,’ that’s all they are.

Your thoughts?  Experiences?

Comments

  1. Jan Powers § January 5th, 2010 at 4:58 am

    Glad, though not surprised, that you were on “high alert.” The power dynamic when some feel “less than” and others feel “in” is a stumbling block to learning for everyone in the class. No doubt it helped enormously that it was named aloud! Thus began the dismantling of that particular barrier to learning. Personally, I appreciate the chance to participate in a conversation about power in the classroom/small group early in a new learning experience. Often, participants are not conscious of power dynamics, or of their own personal power to propel their own learning, and a brief conversation can serve to enlighten/open/shift, with the goal of empowering everyone.

  2. Leslie § January 5th, 2010 at 5:48 am

    Hi Jan..you are illuminating a most important point about power-over becoming visible. It was felt viscerally by most people and HAD to be spoken about. The class could simply no proceed until the elephant in the room had been discussed. I reminds me of Stephen Brookfield’s mandate to ‘chat’ with students to expose and release barriers to learning.

    I’ve italicized a few words intentionally and will be discussing why in a soon-to-be-posted post :). It’s lovely chatting with you

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