Our hearts leapt with joy when we read what one of our course participants wrote on her Instagram about our course!
We’re delighted to hear from Thola that she’s enjoying our class so much, and that the educational experience she’s having in our class is very much what we always hope to offer our students.
How do you teach respect, curiosity, humility, courage?
When we first created the curriculum for our Certification In Creative Grief Support, we spent a lot of time thinking about not just what we wanted our students to know, but also how we wanted them to *be* in terms of their approach and character as grief support practitioners. We wanted to teach our students to be deeply respectful, curious, humble, and courageous, and to hold theories loosely, always prioritizing their client’s unique story and values. We knew that this was not going to happen through traditional “textbook learning” and lecturing. We felt sure that the topic of grief and grief support needed to be brought to life through reflection, experiential creativity, and group discussions.
A hard-won and non-traditional way of learning
When we launched our first class for our Certification in Creative Grief Support back in 2011, we soon realized that this reflective, experiential way of teaching and learning together is not necessarily easy or efficient! It asks that we all (students and faculty) give time and care to our relationships with each other. It replaces “expert” teachers who have all the answers with experienced facilitators who ask really great questions and learn as much from our students as our students learn from them.
This approach to learning together means that we all need to get more comfortable with sitting with not-knowing, and with the understanding that, even when we don’t “have all the answers,” together we have many answers that we can go forward effectively with. Most of all, this kind of experiential learning means that we’re all asked to begin practicing that respect, curiosity, humility, and courage we hope to bring to our practitioner-client relationships with each other within the context of the class discussions.
Trusting our course participants to bring the course to life
We have to admit to feeling a tinge of apprehension at the outset of each new class. What if everybody is too uncomfortable or afraid to make this brave space together, in which the learning could be so rich? We know our course manuals by themselves would be so flat in comparison to the rich and layered discussions we have when our students choose to reflect and question and share. We’re so grateful that every time our apprehension has been unfounded, and every group has turned out to be full of brave, creative, respectful, curious, big-hearted souls like Thola, who have dived into the learning and sharing and brought our course to life!
About Thola Antamu
Read more of Thola Antamu’s thought-provoking reflections and beautiful writing on grief, creativity, adoption, race, and more over at her blog.