by • September 25, 2012 • Leading, Leaders and Leadership, Professional DevelopmentComments (3)1689

Learners, Learners Everywhere, But No One Left To Teach?

I’ve spent a lot of time in my professional life working with peer programs. From mentorship to communities of practice to unconferences, the notion of peer learning has fast become an attractive and dynamic way to share knowledge and ideas in our professional community. Assessment data and anecdotal evidence shows strong support from my colleagues for this model of learning. People are attracted to learning from peers, to hearing new stories and to having someone else’s hindsight become their foresight.

If everyone is attracted to peer-to-peer dialogue for the learning, who will be the one to teach?

Bringing peers together, by the very definition, often means bringing people together with the same (or very similar) sets of knowledge, skills and/or professional challenges. Everyone coming into the conversation is looking for the same thing and often enter with the same questions.

While there may be a shared empathy and experience, how can we expect peers to feel confident in their ability to teach?

The desire to learn is almost innate for student affairs professionals – we seem to naturally and voraciously seek out new opportunities for personal and professional development, and speak of being a life-long learner in the same way someone else might identify as having a particular hair colour or favourite band.

To learn, then, seems natural. Safe. Comfortable even.

Who will heed to the burden of responsibility that the collection of knowledge has placed on us to share and spread ideas such that they can evolve and be impactful?

Who will step up and be the teacher?


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3 Responses to Learners, Learners Everywhere, But No One Left To Teach?

  1. I don’t see a lack of teachers. There are more than enough conference presenters even amongst the ranks of #SAgrad and brand new #SApros because they are eager to prove themselves as Leaders. In my opinion Leaders are Teachers, although the pedagogy might be different or the environment might change.

    I feel that the shared empathy and experience are what validate our own ideas and make us feel comfortable stepping into gradually larger leadership roles. I think that it is a part of the process of creating Leaders, and therefor teachers.

  2. Love this Lisa. I read your post as a call to action, and a call for us SA pros to step it up. To recognize that all though we may have many of the same skills and backgrounds, we most certainly approach our work from diverse prospectives, and we should integrate our unique perspectives in to our knowledge exchange.

  3. and by “prospectives”, I mean perspectives….

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