Robin’s and her upcoming course in Germany, hosted by Declan Kennedy, Heidi Winkler and the Education Team at Lebensgarten Steyerberg Ecovillage has received this honouring quote from Declan.
“We are really fortunate to be able to host Robin Clayfield’s ‘Dynamic Groups, Dynamic Learning’ Course for the first time in Germany. She is co-author of ‘Teaching Permaculture Creatively,’ which was hugely influential on the pathway for permaculture teachers in the UK and globally. This course promises to be full to the brim of creativity and empowerment. We look forward to seeing you on the course.”
Declan Kennedy – Lebensgarten Steyerberg Ecovillage, Germany
The Brus Ecovillage ‘Village Development Program’ (VDP) guides 120 people through Ecovillage design education for five weekends over 12 months. As part of the facilitation team currently bringing this potent curriculum to an enthusiastic group of future Ecovillage residents, it has not only felt natural but also very necessary to utilise ‘Dynamic Groups’ processes to support the content to be fully conveyed and received.
Small group work is an effective way to navigate a group of this size to support the intention for robust individual and group engagement. Grouping processes have been essential, energising, and connective. The group is invited to mill about each other, sharing smiles and recognition, having them bopping to fun lively music in the background. They are invited to connect “five right thumbs” to which the group excitingly scurries to create. They ’are back to milling about as the next instruction comes through. “Connect three right elbows”. After a few rounds of getting into the groove, the final configuration is invited: “Connect four left feet”. Knowing we would need groups of eight, the groups would then fuse with one other group to create their collective for the next exercise. This process is invaluable when placed amongst sessions of high content transfer (especially after a PowerPoint presentation): the movement and interaction are energising and allow a graceful connectivity amongst future community co-residents.
Sociograms have also been effective for helping everyone explore the make-up of the VDP group. For a group this size, we’re located with adequate space to move around while exploratory questions are issued to collectively grasp the dynamics of the individuals who make-up the whole. On a marked-out scale of 1 to 10 (least to most) covering approximately 10m in length, questions are posed and the people map themselves in 3D : “Place yourself according to how much community experience you’ve had”, “How far have you come today?”, “How many people do you know in this group?”. Everyone can observe the clusters in responses, getting a feel for the ‘lay of the land’ in the human landscape. Once again, the dynamic of the whole group moving around each other has been vital in group connectivity.
We’ve even taken dynamic processes into the facilitation team’s evaluation of our role in facilitating the weekends. As the team lives in various locations around the Northern Rivers and South East Queensland, we work with a spreadsheet set-up with Edward de Bono’s ‘6 Hats’ to thoroughly and creatively explore how we’ve performed and what can be tweaked for next time. Six columns are colourfully headed-up according to each of the 6 Hats. The rows are labelled in relevance to the aspects of our facilitation role: content, presentation style, equipment and resources, teamwork, and facilities. Each of the facilitators then fills-in the matrix on their own spreadsheet tab with feedback, providing space for different perspectives and provoking creative ideas. We all have an opportunity to see what each facilitator has offered, allowing a thorough harvesting of the diverse group’s insights and innovation.
Working with the VDP group at this scale is a first for me and has very much helped me develop a deeper appreciation for my dynamic process toolkit. Calling on the diversity of simple yet powerful processes that can be scaled up and down according to the group size has helped me be a more fun, engaging and effective facilitator, while bringing-out the same qualities in the group experience. I can’t think of any other way to do it for everyone to be in fulfilment and enjoyment with the experience.
Robin and her ‘Dynamic Groups, Dynamic Learning’ team are excitedly preparing to launch a Patreon Page at the beginning of May. The aim is to invite and gather support from everyone globally who appreciates and uses the ‘Dynamic Groups’ methodology or who would welcome the tools, ideas, confidence and processes that Robin’s gathered and developed in 25 years of wisdom gathering while training hundreds, probably thousands, of teachers, facilitators and group leaders.
The support will fund assistance for Robin to finish writing a series of five books on the subject and several e-books and mini books plus audio and pod casts, webinars and creative resources.
Fantastic rewards will be offered for those who become Patrons. They will receive the first book in e-book chapters, written as complete mini books as they become available and many interesting and diverse offerings. The more support there is the quicker the books will become available. Likewise, the more support there is the more Robin will be able to pay Erin Young to assist with development and communication and Rob Clark to work on the graphics and design for the books.
The hugest reward for Robin and all who applaud her work will be the completion and distribution of the books to the benefit of thousands of people globally and hopefully a positive and creative shift in education, facilitation and training globally.
‘Dynamic Groups, Dynamic Learning’ Creative Facilitation and Teacher Training Residential Intensive at Crystal Waters EcoVillage.
Created, Hosted and Facilitated by Robin Clayfield.
Book now, as a result of reading this post and receive a $50 discount on the course fee.
The course will be held at Crystal Waters in SE Q’ld and will be the only one in Australian for the year as Robin will be overseas offering ‘Dynamic Groups’ in many countries through UK and Europe during the Australian winter. Later in the year she’ll be in India for the International Permaculture Convergence.
She wasn’t planning to do this course in her home country at all this year but due to many requests and interest, dates have been booked. When she works in her home community of Crystal Waters she gets to bring all her resources and employ the very best cooks who use local and organic produce. They are always the best. If you’d like to use the payment plan system you are welcome to book in now and begin paying so it’s all covered by the time the course starts or just pay a $300 deposit to hold your place.
Recently Robin was asked to facilitate a three hour session for a new arm of a training college. Her brief was to support them to come up with an Intention, a Mission Statement and do some Visioning. When considering the difference between a Mission Statement and a Vision Statement Robin felt a definition could be useful and found she could refer to a chapter in her upcoming book that she’d already written to guide her planning.
Here’s the definitions:- Group Purpose – A Groups Purpose is it’s intention or reason for existing.
A Mission Statement – Frames up the purpose or intention of the group, business or organisation into a summary of core purpose, aims, values and focus as a way to channel the groups actions, define it’s goals and guide decision making. It says what the group is, what it does, why it exists, and how it does what it does,.including reference to core values. It can name it’s primary participants, products and services and it’s location. It is designed to inspire all who read it beyond and also including the members of the group.
A Vision Statement – Describes in visual and graphic language the desired destination of the group, business or organisation. It declares objectives, encourages alignment with the groups goals and paints a picture of the future while inspiring and giving direction to members. It says where the group is going, it’s dream for the future and what it wants to become in a living document that is revisited and revised periodically. It’s usually an internal communication.
The outcome of the planning session with the college was fruitful and included an awareness that for any planning to proceed a shared understanding about the values underpinning the organisation was pivotal. This was approached by asking everyone, in their own quiet space, to write down all the vales they felt were ‘Core’ to the new organisation. One value per slip of paper. Each value was then grouped with others that were the same and placed in the centre. Agreement was sought using a ‘Hand Gauge’ Process and before too long it was clear which Values were important to all in the group and which still needed some thought, clarification or discussion. A lot was achieved in three hours though much more time is needed with any strategic planning to really set a solid foundation upon which to grow and thrive and kind of organisation.
Stay tuned for an e-book to be released soon on ‘Shared Understandings, Visions and Dynamic Group Foundational Planning’.
It’s almost time for the 31st Woodford Folk Festival in SE Qld which takes place over the Christmas/New Year period. Robin and her team are busy harvesting bamboo, making giant sculptured petals, collecting resources, materials and objects from nature and generally preparing to create and construct ‘The Sacred Union Labyrinth’ for the fourth year running.
The Labyrinth has become an integral and much loved destination at the festival where people can walk it anytime or attend one of the four Ceremonies which feature a five piece band and a six person Ceremony team. Directly after each Ceremony ‘Djuelu the Village Scribe’ (Rob Clark) will be present to write meaningful words on parchment to commemorate people’s Labyrinth walk. At other times ‘Tinkerbell’ will provide music to walk to and there will most likely be some Pop Up chiors. Come join the fun, delight and sacred adventure.
Times for the Ceremonies are:-
Tuesday 27th – 10am to 11.30am Wednesday 28th – 7.30pm to 9pm Friday 30th – 7.30pm to 9pm Sunday 1st January – 2pm to 3.30pm