Who really holds the power over learning?

Vincent, a participant of our recent life-hack class on Bodyfulness, through a conversation with Yoek the coordinator, explores the intersections between space and learning, shared curiosities and community and most significantly, the question of who really holds the power over our learning?

Sense of place

V: Thank you for organising the Bodyfulness class! The idea of somatic movement was still a bit abstract for me but I’m grateful for the opportunity to kinda connect with my body. Really love the place you guys chose too, the view of the lake was beautiful and the shade from a large tree made me feel quite peaceful. 😊

Bright and early, the Bodyfulness class took place on a grassy slope right at the edge of the new Jurong Lake Gardens. Photo Credit: Yong Yoek Ling

Bright and early, the Bodyfulness class took place on a grassy slope right at the edge of the new Jurong Lake Gardens. Photo Credit: Yong Yoek Ling

Y: Yes! I really liked that the class found its classroom in a relevant place. The idea of a sense of place for a class is something I’m exploring. I think this adds another angle as to how we can be creative with the classes we create!

Curiosity as a creative force

Y: Did you have any curiosities/questions about the whole Real World Campus concept? What was exciting about it, intriguing or confusing?

V: Actually I really loved the idea of a ‘real world campus’ and thank you for the gift of the question: what am I curious about?

As a youth in my mid and entering late twenties, I’ve always pondered over the question:

Who am I really? What is my purpose? Hoping to develop a moral compass which guide me in navigating through life’s decisions. I feel that understanding where our curiosity lies, is a key component in this moral compass.

I feel that the Real World Campus you are creating, helps folks to start pondering over these questions for themselves, beginning from that very first question: What am I curious about?

Y: Yes, and curiosity really is a powerful ignitor and activator. I wonder how much in life we miss out on because we are not sensitive to the curiosities within us. I remember at the first ideation session for learning coordinators, I had a tough time! Confronted with the question on what I really wanted to learn, I could not quite place my finger on it. I’d always just been conditioned to efficiently and effectively learn the syllabus put in front of me! But once I allowed the curiosity to arise and to follow its leading, waves of ideas for new classes just kept coming up!!!

My newest class idea: is to bring together a group of people to create interpersonal rhythms together, with the abandoned Jurong Railway tunnel as the acoustic chamber.

Recognising the power we have over our learning

V: I would love to hear about what your vision is for the Real World Campus is too and learn more.

Y: We ran an ideation session for learning coordinators the same afternoon; and we realized that the idea of learner-led learning is kind of countercultural!

V: Oh that’s interesting! Countercultural as in still quite unfamiliar to most people?

Y: Countercultural as in people are not used to the idea that they have power over their learning. Somehow most of us think of learning as passive and something done to us. Not something I actively pursue and have power over.

But as in Peter Block’s Community, I think that truly it is the learner who makes the teacher. Who really holds power over our learning? Us.

And the Real World Campus is built on that idea, returning the power of learning to its seat.

Vincent’s Book Recommendation for the Week: On rest as intentional; it is not passive but an active process to feel more nourished and rested. Photo Credit: Vincent Ng

Vincent’s Book Recommendation for the Week: On rest as intentional; it is not passive but an active process to feel more nourished and rested. Photo Credit: Vincent Ng

Curiosity as a source of power

V: Also, I wonder if you found the session emotionally nourishing as the person who initiated it? The Rest book would classify this as Deep Play, which is understood as finding joy in embarking on something that is challenging, new, yet fulfilling.

Y: Deep Play! I love the idea! I was exhausted yesterday. Not sure if it was from the efforts of coordinating! Or the learning!

But recently I’ve been exploring this idea of “ease”. So coordinating the class was of “ease” to me. Not in the sense it didn’t take work or effort or wasn’t a challenge, but it was work that fit me and it was a joyful “burden”. The things that I had to do came naturally and it fit the meaning of what I believe in creating.

For example, coordinating a class entails first and foremost, creating the class concept. And I think here, the curiosity part comes in. It is critical that the class is something that draws your curiosity in a deep way, something that you really feel ‘moved’ to explore and learn more about. This way, it is not ‘work’, but merely following your curiosity down the natural paths that it leads you. Coming down to power, this is a power that is generated from within. Curiosity is a powerful force!

Next, finding the teacher. This too, is not difficult, in the sense that perhaps it is true, that when the student is ready, the teacher appears! But what is of consequence here, is the rapport and trust. Power is shared between the teacher and the coordinator. It is the process of establishing a trusting relationship between the teacher and the coordinator, trusting him/her to come in with his/her knowledge and expertise, but at the same time, to respond to your curiosity.

The last bit is really about enrolling fellow learners! This is oftentimes seen as the most ‘difficult’ part: enrolling others to come along with you on the learning journey. But the class can only happen when there are enough fellow learners!

In my case, it didn’t feel like work to me or an excessive challenge, because it was me simply using my desire to learn to draw out the same in others. It came naturally; people came to mind, people whom I thought could benefit from it or would be curious about it. Or I would try to ignite that curiosity in them.

Even as it happened with you! Remember how I met you at that seminar and I started to tell you about the class, and here you are!

Learning as a shared experience

V: Sitting in the session yesterday, I was suddenly reminded of the feeling I had at the World Domination Summit. What was really special then was the community. There was a high concentration of people who shared the same values in the same space, where conversations become very nourishing and deeper relationships of trust can be forged. And I think this is true for Bold as well. It felt like there were many kindred spirits in one place whom I could connect with.

It wasn’t really about mastering a skill per se (not outcome driven like our usual education system which causes much anxiety) but really about being in the present and enjoying the process of learning

Y: Yes, and this is why it was particularly satisfying to create a class! Because it was beyond just me and my own learning, but it was about creating a space where a group could come together to learn, drawn by a common curiosity.


Curious? Want to learn more about the inception of the Real World Campus, and how it brings people and places together?

If you want to ignite your own curiosity and that of others, sign up as a class coordinator by dropping us a note at hello@boldatwork.sg today!