Creating a welcoming environment for collaborative learning

The first day of October has always been a special day to me, in part because my parents were married on that date and we celebrated the event annually. Additionally, we Dallasites always look forward to the promise of cooler weather that October brings (although a check of the forecast this morning found 90+ degree days for the upcoming week).

This year, October 1 marks the beginning of a new initiative in online collaborative learning, known as the Joyful Jubilant Learning Network. (Note: the link will not be available until Monday morning.) I am honored be one of the initial contributing authors, joining several prolific and insightful writers who have come together in the Ho’ohana Community.

The inspiration for JJLN comes from the month-long learning forum sponsored by Rose Say. To get a feel for the forum take a look at this post in which Rosa gathered quotes and links from the posts and discussion.

Why am I involved in the JJLN? Naturally, learning is important to me. After all, my first post on this blog was titled Still Learning. Additionally, something special happened for me when I began to read and discuss the posts on Rosa’s forum. For example, Terry Starbucker’s post about about Brother George (which I mentioned earlier) inspired me to write not one, but two comments. Here is a re-print of one:

Terry, Your post has certainly hit the tipping point in making us travel down memory lane and inspired me to share just one more teacher story.

When I was in the 9th grade, my science teacher (who’s name I cannot summon) shook the very foundations of my existence. He informed me, quite politely, that most people did not believe that the universe was created in 6 days. Having spent every day of my 14 years in the Bible belt, I was shocked that anyone would say such a thing.

I’ll never forget his coaching tone. He knew that I was a bright fellow who had simply been sheltered regarding modern science. He slowly, deliberately explained concepts that were huge to me at the time: that people have different beliefs; that being open to new ideas and evidence were valuable traits; that science and personal values were not at odds but rather addressing different aspects of life.

The world changed for me that day; it grew exponentially. That day allowed me to question, to probe. It allowed me to become comfortable with uncertainty. It gave me permission to change my mind; to not always know absolute truth.

The science teacher’s name was Mr. Davis, I now recall, and I had not thought of him for several years before reading Starbucker’s post. If it is not apparent from the comment, it was incredibly important for me to remember and write about how Mr. Davis had such an tremendous influence on my life and outlook.

The welcoming environment for learning and sharing not only led me to comment about Mr. Davis, but also led many others to contribute their thoughts, feelings, and insights . The combined learning resulted in a whole greater than the sum of it’s parts.

Creating a welcoming environment for collaborative learning is the primary purpose of the Joyful Jubilant Learning Network, and the reason I am excited to participate!

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2 Responses to Creating a welcoming environment for collaborative learning

  1. Starbucker says:

    Blaine, I too am excitied about JJL and the endless learning possibilities it will offer us. Sharing our experiences is a powerful tool. I’m looking forward to our further explorations! All the best.

  2. Thanks Terry, Each day brings new stories, lessons and sharing. Very exciting!

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