Hi fellas, this is my second to the last blog entry for EDS 131! And for this entry, I would like to share my knowledge on participatory learning and how it personally attracted me. First, I will cite information about participatory learning based from a reading I encountered in this module and a document from the internet.
Participatory learning occurs through active participation on the learning activities. According to Sarah Thomas (n.d.) participatory learning entails “…participatory and visual methods with natural interviewing techniques and is intended to facilitate a process of collective analysis and learning.” Indeed, participatory learning is an active process or learning. In fact, UNESCO Bangkok (n.d.) stated that “learning [per se] is an active process where a learner goes through an experience and learns from it.” This basically states that participation and experience are crucial factors for participatory learning.
I believe that this approach provides deeper learning and relativity to one’s life. It provides deeper learning since one could experience self-reflection, active learning and more participative ways of learning that could foster metacognition. This is not to say that this approach does not foster cognitive skills rather, it foster both skills that are crucial for an individual especially on adults. Moreover, participatory learning certainly entails relativity to one’s reality since it will start from where the students are, which context are they currently have and what assumptions and motivations do the students have. Increasing the relativity of the instructions and learning activities itself give attraction for the adult learners to pursue or continue learning.
I really commend and like this kind of approach that is why I always use it whenever I am conducting theater and film workshops. By the way, I am a theater and film actor and somewhat an apprentice director of both. I am handling workshops for theater and films to high school students here in my place. Going back, whenever I am handling workshops, I make sure that my kids (children, since I treat them as my sons and daughters) came to my workshop to participate, and not merely passive members. Moreover, the curriculum that I am basing at is participative in nature that is why the only problem that I may encounter is on how to employ those instruction. Upon reflection, I think my strengths and attributes that made me, and will continue to help me become a good facilitator of participative learning are: my experience in participative theater, my eagerness to help and share my knowledge while also learning with others, my sense of humor and I think my passion on theater and films. These things in fact help me achieve success on the workshops that I handled.
Finally, I will end this entry by giving some tips that I have learned upon handling a participative workshop to foster participative learning approach and upon reading the UNESCO Bangkok’s work on participatory learning.
- Make sure that they (participants) came to your workshop by their own will. This could be done by interviewing your participants on ‘why they came here’.
- Before you start your workshop, introduce yourself and let your student know each other to avoid awkwardness. You can do this by playing games. We have this game called “line game” wherein the participants were divided into groups and then ask them to line according to a given category, the first group who finish and perfectly line themselves according to the given category gets a point. There are lot of games that you might use, all you need to have is a creative and playful mind.
- During workshops, it is inevitable to talk in giving instruction and synthesizing the learning we get from the workshop or activities. But to promote active and participative learning, you could ask your participants about their learning and assess what they have learned from the activity. You could also form discussion group where in the participants were divided into groups and share what they got from the activities.
You could also use a healthy competition for you to encourage your participant to participate. I observe this effective when handling children and youth. I guess in adult, this may not be effective as much as the youth. But who knows? We have diverse adults, it will all depend on who your participants are and where they are coming from.
- Group activities really promote participative learning. You just have to make sure that each of the participants really contributes to the group. In this case you may opt to also promote inclusivity within the participants.
- Lastly, you should have an open mind to the endless possibilities of knowledge, reflections and flow of your activities. Make sure that your participants are learning through their experience and do not try to lead them to what your desired outcome is. Respect what they learn but make sure that they really get what they must achieve upon completion of the workshop. You must be the facilitator, advisor, consultant or co-participant of the workshop.
These suggestions are merely what I have learned from my experience and readings. This may not be applicable to some of you but I bet that it will help you more in facilitating participative workshop or seminars.
Thomas, S. (n.d.). What is Participatory Learning and Action (PLA): An Introduction. Retrieved from http://idp-key-resources.org/documents/0000/d04267/000.pdf
UNESCO Bangkok. (n.d.). Participatory Learning (Module 4). In UNESCO Bangkok, Handbook non-formal adult education facilitators. Bangkok: UNESCO.