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Adaptive Schools Seminar


The two day Adaptive Schools Seminar with Carolyn McKanders brought a plethora of people focused strategies based on human behavior and cognitive processing to achieve success in a complex social system.  The complex social system is any system where humans are involved and thus these strategies have a wide breadth of adaptability that goes beyond education.  The strategies presented, modeled and practiced throughout the seminar are simple yet powerful concepts and when strung together orchestrates our behaviors and cognition to achieve our goals in a positive and inviting environment.  

The following are some useful strategies that were modeled and practiced in the seminar that can be applied directly in the work environment.

  1. 10-2:  Lecture processing ratio.  Adult brain can only take 10 min of talk then needs 2 min of processing time.
  2. Third Point:  When presenting a topic, especially negative one, have something visual to point to that is away from you.  This way you deflect the negative information away from you.
  3. Public Agenda:  Have agenda visually available at all times.  Helps adults to focus/refocus and makes connection between topics
  4. Small Fires:  3-4 people sit in a small circle. Everyone is equal and communication is in a more intimate environment
  5. Spend A Buck:  Prioritizing activity through spending 100 imaginary pennies on given topics.
  6. 30 Second Speech:  Create a 30 second speech on the information presented and give the speech to a partner.  Helps with synthesizing and retention of the information.
  7. Anchor Space:  Utilize physical space to help organize complex instructions and/or associate meaning.

Another important concept that was presented that has profound effect on changing behaviors and capabilities is the Dilts Nested Levels of Learning.  To change capabilities and behavior we must first understand that they are nested within our identity and beliefs, values and assumptions.  One must first change one’s identity, who they believe they are, before one’s capabilities and behaviors will change.

This was a eye opening seminar with applicability in most areas of our work that deal with people.  We look forward to taking days three and four of this seminar in the future.


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