Sunday, December 07, 2008

Wayfinding in an online community of practice--

“On the side, in the middle, questioning, nudging, modeling, holding back sitting on my hands”

“Where I once might have suggested or pushed in a conversation, now others begin to take that lead. As an almost out of body experience, I hear my voice slowly morphing from that of leader as trust builds and the voices of the community grow and mature.” --Powerful Learning Practice
Deeply honored, humbled by the opportunity to undertake the role of community leader in the private virtual learning community of the Illinois/Ohio Cohort of Will and Sheryl’s Powerful Learning Practice

Tentative, not always confident in the best response to a reluctant member--

Enthusiastic, sensing the incredible synergy that arises from teaming with creative, smart, and innovative educators

Hesitant, at times unsure of when that “sitting on my hands” will engender passioned discussions--

Confident, absolutely sold on the PLP model and its value--

These tensions, this dissonance—only compel my own stretching, my moving out of my comfort zone as I find my way as a community leader. At this point, it's messy, it’s exhilarating, it’s formidable and it’s stupefying – 21st century learning at its best!!! Learning that brings new meaning to being open to new ideas, to flexibility, to being nimble— challenging and demanding.

As I find my way, seeking tone that is most welcoming, and yet again true, I find myself on the side in private emails and comments to walls on the NING encouraging those who continue to find this environment daunting. I’m more comfortable here—

And then in the middle, asking questions of clarification, hoping to push folk deeper in thinking or in considering an alternate perspective. Composing these questions—again with attention to tone –does not come easily-- wanting just the right words, just the right phrase, in my own voice--often going off to think on the best approach as I walk in the park or finish the dishes or wash my hair before returning to respond. I’m glad to be stretching a bit here –

Most challenging – sensing the right time to be quiet at the computer, just sitting on my hands, letting go -- allowing members of the community the opportunity for their own personal messy learning. I often feel like I’m on a roller coaster as passioned conversations take off and then suddenly few voices are raised-- I’m confident with my choice to step back and then I’m questioning the appropriateness-- I’ve been using my “gut feeling” since it often worked when I was back in the classroom, yet that was then and face to face and not messy. And I’m out of my comfort zone, and I’m supposed to be leading – therein, for me, lies the pull of a community of practice—an ongoing wayfinding toward an accomplished global practice.

This community is growing and maturing, members are emerging as leaders—and as I noted “my voice is morphing” -- its authenticity, regard for tone always constant, yet a nebulous evolution with perhaps less need for me to make those difficult choices— I’m wondering how far we may travel? With Sheryl’s brilliant path markers, I’m guessing there are no boundaries, no limits to my wayfinding and that of those emerging community leaders. This journey is one special one indeed to be continued---

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1 comment:

Char said...

What a beautiful post, Lani! Your passion and excitement for this learning opportunity is perfectly reflected in this post. I could not possibly say it any better...simply eloquent. There are people who pass through our lives and leave lasting are one of those for me.