December 5, 2017

A Culture of Shalom

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This blog was written by Learning Leader Alice Vanderkooy who is working alongside co-leader Diane Stronks with Haitian educators and leaders as part of the Ambassador Training: Collaborative Learning Walking Together project.

Animated discussion characterized today. Alice led the morning session on “Listening, Wisdom and Mentoring,” with an emphasis on building positive relationships in our personal lives as well as in our organizations. This included talking about the mentors in our lives. “Have you thanked that person?” was a question that took many of them by surprise.

Diane continued to unpack the question, “What kind of leader are you?” The point of the exercise was to recognize that none of us embodies all the characteristics of a good leader. We need each other. Having answered a 5 minute questionnaire to determine if their leadership style resembled a lion, an otter, a beaver or a dog (Golden Retriever), people shared their top two leadership styles. Each time someone’s leadership style was “dog” or Golden Retriever, they hesitated or laughed. We realized, after several instances of this, that in Haiti, dogs are not the cherished pets we have in in North America. On the surface, having a “Golden Retriever” or dog style of leadership was not desirable, although they understood the principle that was being described. No one was offended, and they told us not to change it. Nonetheless it was a good lesson on being alert to cultural differences!

During the latter part of the day, Alice introduced Project Based Learning (PBL), using resources from the Ontario Christian Teacher Academy as well as storytelling. The emphasis of PBL is on confronting societal issues and empowering students to implement solutions. Again in groups, the participants came up with topics that might be relevant to their Haitian reality. This led to quite the discussionWe are curious if PBL is a direction that the participants might want to pursue in the future.

So...another full day of meaningful interaction, lively engagement on the part of the participants, and gratitude for the work God is doing here among his people as they seek to be salt and light in their communities. 


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