I love dancing. I also love learning new things - but only if I'm interested, and I like to learn in my own way. Maybe it's because I'm curious and I'm a confident self-direct learner, or maybe it's that I'm too lazy, or contrary, to learn stuff that someone else has decided I need to learn. Whatever the reason I find myself in Dadamac continually jumping between "doing stuff" and "needing to learn how", and I have come to see my learning as a dance.
In this Dadamac learning-by-doing dance my life skips between:
- Having to do something.
- Getting a bit of information.
- Doing something in practice.
- Finding out what I do and don't know.
- Reflecting quietly on that practical experience.
- Asking for help (the "phone a friend" element).
- Gaining insights with others, online or face-to-face (F2F).
- Finding resources that provide additional information, usually online.
- Combining all the new theory, reflection and experience.
- Skipping back to some more practical work.
- Repeating all the above in various orders and formations
Learning-by-doing is a "dance" that takes many forms, and therefore many kinds of dance fit the analogy. In learning, as in dancing, you may be part of a wide circle, or in a set, in a group, with a partner, or alone. Some learning situations, and some dances, are very fluid and improvised, some are formally structured or carefully choreographed. There are the many hours put in, that no-one sees, where you are simply getting better at what you do. There's the fun stuff, in the company of others, with no external judgement or imposed standards, no-one trying to impress anyone, just participating for the joy of it. There are also public performances, with associated risks and vulnerabilities.
As someone who enjoys dance, and enjoys self-directed learning, I see endless analogies. What kind of shared learning happens when two people come to a situation from opposite directions (i.e. opposing perspectives)? Will they take the opportunity to stop, and face each other and dance (learn) together, or will each try to push past the other to continue on their own way. If they dance what kind of a dance will it be? Will one guide while the other willingly moves in harmony without seeing the direction (like traditional ballroom dancing)? Will they gallop off in a direction that neither were facing when they came together (like a gallop in country dancing)? Will the leading and following roles shift subtly during the dance (like a tango)? Will it be slow and stately, wild and chaotic, will it be fun? Most importantly, will it be something trivial and temporary or part of something more ongoing. Will it become a way of doing things, a kind of shared movement, where skills are developed, trust is built and collaborations grow.
If you become part of Dadamac then be prepared to join our learning-by-doing dance, with its mixture of the down-side (of tripping over our own feet and accidentally treading on people's toes) and the up-side (of leaping forward together with confidence, energy and purpose). The Dadamac troupe is growing, beginners and experienced "learning-by-doing dancers" welcome. If you're interested in joining then contact us