Posted:28 November 2018
Author: Lori St. Cyr, Community Learning Network
I am very fortunate to have been spending time with elders from many different nations and communities. I have been hearing many elders speak about connections - connections to the land and knowing where you come from has been one of the loudest, most voiced conversations.
This got me thinking about our learners and how are we connecting with them. What kinds of connections are we making? Are they valuable? Meaningful? Kind? Are we spending enough time caring for those connections? Are we nurturing? Are we rushing them?
For myself, when I’m creating or wanting to build a partnership, friendship or any sort of relationship I plant a seed of connection in that first meeting by being welcoming, warm and friendly and taking the time to listen. Smiling at a stranger on your walk to work in the morning, holding a door open for the person behind you, saying thank you to the person who works at your favorite coffee shop - these are all examples of connection. With every conversation, email, thank you, good morning and smile, you are in some small way making a connection with the person you have had little interaction with.
When I visit a CALP site, attend training events or speak with possible partners, I am watering and nurturing that connection by building trust and creating a safe space. Not only for the person I am connecting with but also within the space we are in. The space now becomes a safe, welcoming and comforting place for everyone.
I try to keep in mind that learners come from many walks of life. Their learning journey or even their life journey may be very different than what you or I have lived or done. As facilitators, coordinators, administrators, directors, tutors, support staff we all need to remember we all have our own story.
Can you think of a time when you walked into a building, store, school, doctor’s office, etc. and you weren’t welcomed or greeted? Maybe you were ignored or looked at in a negative way, or maybe you felt as though the person you were there to see didn’t have time or want to see you. How did that make you feel?
We make connections everyday in almost everything we do or say, even with me writing this I am making a connection with you the reader.
How can you in your role make more meaningful and mindful connections? What makes you feel comfortable? Remember slow and steady, anything worth creating takes time to build and grow.
Lori St. Cyr
CLN Indigenous Liaison