Less Prep, More Presence as a Teaching Philosophy

Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 28 seconds

In adrienne maree brown’s Emergent Strategy book, there is SO MUCH I love, that resonates with me deep down. But one simple principle “less prep, more presence” is to me so key. And is a big part of my pedagogical approach.

Look, I prepare OF COURSE, but I put less emphasis on preparation than I do on being present in the moment with my students when teaching or with participants when workshopping or speaking.

Where I think educational development work goes wrong, the gap in our work, is in how much emphasis we put on COURSE DESIGN and how little we put on COURSE FACILITATION. Of course, good facilitation is built on good design, but it is not the sum total of a good learning experience. So much facilitation is dependent not upon prep, but upon willingness to shift in response to the experience of others in the room. You cannot do that unless you are “present” and not overly married to your prep… several times in the past few months, I have pivoted based on my feel of a room of students or participants or colleagues.

Another dimension of this is to be sensitive to feelings of people you’re with even in a professional context. Sometimes you need to be present with someone’s feelings and make time for them BEFORE they can be present in a work related meeting. Like people cannot be fully present when they are in pain, and addressing this is more important than glossing over it. They may not need to talk, but they may need a minute.

Now “How do we practice the art of holding others without losing ourselves?” (Adrienne maree brown, Holding Change)

Photo of woman holding soil and plant in her hand, by Nikola Jovanovic on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.