As a trainer, like many others, I travel round the country laden with posters, props, toys and other paraphernalia, trying to create positive learning environments from windowless basements, cramped boardrooms that double as storerooms, corporate bland hotel rooms, or cold, sterile rooms packed full of technology. It amazes me that so many organisations have so little awareness of the impact of the environment on learning, using training venues that in many cases actually inhibit learning.
On 21st March I spent lovely day with the Brain Friendly Learning Group at their meeting in Basingstoke, where I ran a workshop called Multi-Sensory Magic. We looked at why it's so important to use all the senses in training, explored the different ways in which we can do this, and generated loads of great ideas for creative ways to engage all the senses.
I decided to try a little experiment with the group, and divided them into 3 groups. Each group was asked to list as many facts about oranges as they could think of...
Last week I celebrated the fact that its 5 years since I left my “proper job” to set up Saltbox by inviting those who have supported me over the last 5 years, whether as customers, colleagues, collaborators or friends, to a “bit of a do” at the Salthouse, and we had a wonderful day.
Reflecting now on the event now it strikes me that that there are some really good reasons to mark such an anniversary with some kind of celebration:
I sit writing this in Somerset and considering myself lucky that I live and work on the Mendip hills and not on the flooded levels. As I decide what to write about the effects of our senses on our learning, it occurs to me that those who hear about the floods on their radios have an awareness of what has happened and how difficult it is for those whose homes and livelihoods are under water. Those who have seen footage on the news or photos in the papers will have an even better understanding, will experience a stronger emotional reaction, and will have much stronger memories of these events. But those who visit the Somerset levels to clamber over the sandbags, wade through the water, and smell the sewage are the ones who will really have a powerful experience and will retain powerful memories of what this was like – probably for the rest of their lives. Let’s not even think about what may happen if we were to taste the water!
Nicki Davey, Director of Saltbox Training & Events -