Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Contextual Knowledge in Program Planning: A Personal Reflection

Program planning is a challenging and complex task. Its complexity lies not only in the program details or the audience to which the program is targeted to, but in the different personalities or experiences of the planners. Many times as planners, we communicate what we are. We want to inculcate our belief and personal perception to audience including our biases. Planning itself requires much effort. With interpersonal issues among planners, the issue becomes more difficult to deal with as experts rub against each other. Answer to Question 1Planning involves the participation of different stakeholders or team members. Different ideas flow and clash against each other. Power issues surface and the battle over whose idea or whose proposal is better rages. When faced with this circumstance, I tend to speak out my mind. I listen to others’ thought as well. I go over the positive and negative aspects of each idea. I weigh the options and vote for the best one. I respect each person or team member. I realized that when it comes to power relations, there are different motivations lying beneath.At first, I believed planners are sincere and focused in doing service. Yet, when I had my first brush with power struggles within my circle, it dawned on me that some planners have their personal agenda. It could be something beneficial to them. So far, there is nothing I would like to change about my current beliefs. But I want to reinforce the notion that planners must be objective and must be wiling to let go of personal biases or motivation for the good of many. Answer to Question 2Listening and open communication are the skills that I utilize in every planning session. Listening requires much effort as it involves more than hearing different ideas. Listening is digesting each idea and respecting it. Listening is acknowledging one planner’s thoughts and knowledge. Communication, on the other hand, is being open with the possibilities of accepting and trying ou t the ideas. It may also mean acceptance for every suggestion turned down. Open communication is healthy and acts as a bridge.If there is something that I would really want to practice in my belief system is the win-win solution. Negotiation is coming up with the best solution with minor compromises that serve both rallying parties. Answer to Question 3 Planning a program for adults is an enjoyable task. Ethically speaking, adults are willing learners who are experts in their own right. They can make decisions with or without outside intervention. Each adult is a well of knowledge; having gone through different life experiences.These learning are brought out through a participatory learning process. Usually, my beliefs are challenged when a co-planner becomes so very intellectual in approach and dismisses my suggestion that adult learners are learned, by virtue of experience. I usually respond by reasoning that through the adult learner’s participation, the program can be muc h more engaging with the learner themselves speaking out and contributing to the discussion. The conventional funnel method or top-down approach in teaching is not the best way.I get frustrated when participatory learning is bypassed. I feel like the learners have so much to offer. As a program planner, I would like to stress on the value of a person or a learner in the learning process as very ethical and critical. This is one reality that I would like to emphasize in my practice. A learner-centered program is needed to effect change in a training program. There are messages than can be more effectively conveyed to the learners or audience through participatory method. People learn by themselves.Learning is not imposed or enforced. In his 1982 book, Living, Loving and Learning, Buscaglia cited Carl Rogers who wrote: You know that I don’t believe that anyone has ever thought anything to anyone. I question the efficacy of teaching. The only thing that I know is that anyone who wants to learn will learn. And maybe a teacher is a facilitator, a person who puts things down and shows people how exciting and wonderful it is and asks them to eat. (p. 7) We are all learners. We learn from each other.Even experts learn many things from their participants. No man has the monopoly of knowledge and experiences. One man’s learning differs from others. We all have our own way of learning. Answer to Question 4b I have not left a planning situation even if I am not totally sold to the agreed ideas or methods; even if my own suggestions are downplayed. I stayed to learn from them. I still joined to see if their methods based on their belief system will work. It is all about respect and giving opportunities to other parties to have their own way.I hanged on to see the results of the evaluation. Probably, what would make me leave is the honest and face-to-face rejection of my ideas after a poor training program. I would leave if they lost trust and direct all the b lame to me. I would humbly resign. I will not burn the bridge between us but hope to re-connect with them again in the future, should they need my services again. After all, the world is small and who knows, we may end up needing one another at the end of the road someday. References Buscaglia, L. (1982). Living, loving and learning. New York: Random House.

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