Learning started with hating school!

Jul 23, 2021

“At home, I discovered new and amazing things about the world. At school, I spent hours copying ‘boring’ information into my books. The boredom was awful, but the unfairness I observed was worse. Kids like me – the ones with good memories and fluent English – got lots of gold stars and certificates. But kids like my clever friend Lina, who couldn’t speak English very well, hardly ever got stars. And it was even worse for friends like Brian and Jamal, who were always being punished because their minds and bodies had too much energy to stay still. I started behaving very badly at school. Every year, my attitude and behaviour got worse, until there didn’t seem any point in staying on. I decided to drop out – and that’s where the hero of this story makes her entrance.

My life changed dramatically from the moment Sr. B. decided to take over my education. I still don’t know how she talked me into staying on at school with her as my private teacher. I finished school with a great debt of gratitude for the academic and life lessons she’d given me. For example she noticed I was helping kids from other language backgrounds with their studies, and she offered to fund my training if I worked with her to helped create a new ESL or English as second language program. It was the beginning of an exciting and rewarding career journey.

Fast forward and I’ve delivered learning to people from a wide range of backgrounds in Australia and internationally. It doesn’t matter if my learners are farmers or nuclear physicists or teachers – the end goal of a good learning program is always the same. Learning is about empowerment. It’s about accessing the skills and knowledge to develop your career and life options. It’s about change, growth and development.

At Group Homes Australia, we take the time to discover what makes each of our residents unique. We know that every person has their own special story that impacts their behaviours and needs. Discovering the unique points of a learning project – the challenges and goals, the learners and the people the learning will impact – is an essential part of learning design, too.

Understanding the story behind each learning request is very important to me. Who needs the learning and why? What difference will it make to them? How can I help that difference happen as easily, enjoyably and effectively as possible? Once I have the answers, the design will follow.

There is no single ‘right’ design for any project though in my experience there are many wrong ones! Every designer has their own story and skills that shape their design strengths and approach. My background as a writer and teacher are two (2) tools that I constantly draw on in learning design. I’ve developed useful animation and e-learning software skills over the years too, and these also help give my learning designs their character. But if I had to choose my single best asset as a learning designer, I would say it is my memories of Lina and Jamal and the learning programs that failed to serve their needs. These memories motivate me to always keep my focus on delivering learning that drives positive change and empowerment – and what better environment is there for change and empowerment to flourish than at GHA?”

– With Kylie, our Creative Educator at Group Homes Australia.

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For Healthcare professionals, check out “Do it Differently” the webinar series hosted by Tamar Krebs, Founder, Group Homes Australia.

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