Unconventional Learning at the American Friends Service Committee
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It can be a struggle to intake powerpoint-driven training – even for grassroots change-makers skilled at popular education, non-violent action, and creative campaign development. Both the AFSC and CDA have been wrestling with this challenge following the AFSC’s first in-house cross-organizational RPP training in June 2013. So, after we learned unconventional approaches to RPP lessons from my colleague, Raffi Feghali (Live Lactic Culture Beirut, Lebanon) at the RPP Master Training – we used them, immediately!
In September 2013, sixteen AFSC program staff from around the globe participated in our second RPP training. We incorporated movement, objects and teaching modalities that broke through the power-point blahs.
It became exciting to discuss theories of change. We entered the discussion by asking participants to create living tableaus in small groups. At first, I was met with many skeptical faces. However, soon the groups entered a quiet space of physical experimentation. Each group created three scenes: one from before the program intervention, one from their vision for Peace Writ Large, and one from in-between the two.
The exercise gave participants the opportunity to bring their thinking down from the intellectual into the body, the people, the land, the space, the ‘action’ of the problem, and a new way of entering the contexts they hoped to change.
We look forward to trying these techniques and more in our 2014 RPP trainings.
By Guest Blogger Aarati Kasturirangan, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). Originally written for CDA’s Reflecting on Peace Practice Newsletter December 2013