Sensory Intelligence

Malaysian Heat Experiential

I am working with two new clients in Malaysia, delivering Experiential Training the Trainer courses in Kuala Lumpur, a buzzing city that is warm and humid. My friend Roger Greenaway (visit his great Reviewing Skills website) is also working out here focussing on review and evaluation methods.  It is exciting to work together in this way linking our thinking and practice on experiential design, delivery, reflection, and reviewing in different ways/combinations.  It is a very busy week for both of us. The mixture of delegates is also interesting, with corporate clients, and adventure and outdoor facilitators. The last time I was out in Malaysia was several years ago when I was delivering a course for Malaysia Telecom at their training college.

I found a good book to read during the long flight. I bought it at the last minute at an airport shop whilst still in the UK – it is called Thinking, Fast and Slow by the Nobel Prize Winner Daniel Kahneman. It is a fascinating read, and the book includes a lot of interesting material about errors in human judgement, and the functions of the slow and fast thinking routes humans utilise either consciously or subconsciously. They are referred to as system 1 and system 2. One of the most fascinating bits I have read so far is about cognitive illusions: ‘confusing experience with the memory of it is a compelling cognitive illusion’ suggests Kahneman. He offers many illustrations but the one here that was particularly simple to grasp was how someone in the audience of a lecture he did remarked to him how he had listened to a really long, beautiful musical symphony and then at the end there was a scratch on the recording that apparently ruined the whole experience……!!! The experience was not ruined, of course, only the memory of it. Much of the actual experience of listening to the music had not been ruined at all.I will post some news of these events at intervals………


News – books, chapters, an opportunity, and a free seminar!!!

Prof Colin BeardThe Experiential Educators Europe Conference in Lesvos, Greece was a great success. I met many interesting people and we had lovely weather. One morning we saw about five dolphins playing near the shore whilst we had breakfast on the balcony. The EEE sessions were all decided by particpants on arrival, in a very democratic and organised way. The International evening was also a great success with everyone taking some food from their own country. The evening ended with traditional Greek dancing. Greece-Experiential-FoodI took a Bakewell Pudding from the shop in Bakewell, in the National Park. The swimming pool was empty unfortunately so we found alternative uses (see photo),  a great place to do introductory activities! I also experienced some great experiential sessions during the conference and I hope that one or two of the presenters might help me by doing a short section for the forthcoming third edition of the experiential learning book. Next year the event is in Hungary at the end of April. I am hoping to go to it and possibly camp and experience minimalist living!Greece-Experiential-Educators

The Managing Spatial Ecologies book is available on Amazon UK  as well as USA now. The beginning of my contribution chapter is as follows, just to offer a taste of my thinking: Many spaces counter-intuitively interfere with learning and working, yet this state of affairs remains largely misunderstood by senior executives.  I argue that rapid change to working and learning spaces forms a complex ecology, a new spatial dynamic that can liberate, or limit, human and organizational capacity.  Driven largely by what we know about learning and human development, working and learning are increasingly regarded as converging phenomena in the knowledge economy: both require a similar range of human functioning, particularly, using a spatial metaphor, ‘higher’ level thinking through complex information manipulation.  These human functions, previously seen as largely cognitive, can be further developed by a greater comprehension of the role of movement, in an ecological context.  Synergies exist with human processing tools as movement emerges as key to new gesture based technologies that align GPS-like human capacities to processes important to learning, creativity and memory retention.  I suggest that the human being would better comprehend problematic knowledge, so typical in today’s complex world, by organizations getting FM to identify and create, though not necessarily own, more spaces for corporeal applications, as an extra gear to individual and organizational learning I propose a new evolution, an ecological alignment of the structural, functional, personal and social milieu of workplaces.  Through sensitive design work that acknowledges human fears and the need to belong, new spatial ecologies can liberate both individuals and organizations…………..

A chapter on spaces that change individuals and organisations will be published soon in a new International Human Resource Management book edited by John Wilson. This chapter was written with my colleague Professor Price. It is also currently shown  on Amazon books. The chapter Objectives are as follows: By end of this chapter, through theory and practice, any reader will have: Explored how space, in relation to new defining parameters of learning, has been largely neglected by HR; Grasped the concept of convergent evolution in relation to ‘learning’ and ‘working’; Gained a snapshot overview of the evolving theories of learning; Considered the interrelatedness of learning theories and learning environments; Been presented with a simple model of learning that explores learning environments in relation to other important learning dynamics; Explored how spatial dynamics affects language and conversations………………………..

Meanwhile the Training the Trainer Course in KL, Malaysia is recruiting well.

There is a new opportnuity as I am also in Singapore in mid August and hoping that as the flights are paid for a keynote speech then a training programme might be organised with a partner – interested in organising one? Do contact me.

Finally I am running a seminar at Sheffield Hallam University Business School on 25th June for FE and HE lecturers. The day experience will cover four innovative pedagogies. It is for practitioners and the experiences will be very practically focussed. Contact me for details. 15 places only. It is also FREE!!!!!!!



Busy times

News update on my latest projects:

The book Managing Spatial Ecologies is now out with Routledge, New York. My chapter focuses on Spaces that change people and organisations. I will be doing some more work on Organisational Development for the NHS later this year, as well as working with the UK Higher Education Academy to deliver some new workshops for lecturers. I am now busy preparing for the European Experiential Education Conference in Greece, as well as my next Training the Trainer workshop which will be a week long event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Singapore will be visited later this year as a result of an invitation to speak at a Global Alliance of Educators Conference, as well as a visit to Finland where I hope to deliver a symposium contribution on the Mind, Body, Environment relationship in learning (embodied and embedded learning). The Third Edition of the Experiential Learning Text is coming along with new chapters on sensory intelligence, and coaching using the six dimension model as a guide (belonging, doing, sensing, feeling, knowing and being). I am at last hoping to receive the draft final copy of the audio  book on Sensory Inteligence in the next few days from my colleagues in India. I think I have to develop more patience: although it is now over a year ago since the recording took place in a studio in Mumbai!


Woodland Rides

Completed woodland ride

The ride is complete!

The woodland ride is developing nicely. We have now created a richer haven for wildlife and we hope to stop any disturbance before the spring is in full flow. Nest boxes of different sizes are going to be put up over the next few weeks to encourage a few more birds along the ride. In the winter as the photos shows the sun aligns with the length of the ride – glorious! At home the chicken coop is taking shape and I am looking forward to getting new hens this year.

 Meantime the new book on Managing Spatial Ecologies by Routledge New York is now in proof stage….so not long to go…..and the audio book on Sensory Intelligence is now ready for launch from Mumbai, India with the cover design done and the introductory voice work complete.

Later this week I am fliming the technique ‘How to Get to University’ that shows students Higher Education concepts based on the cognitive taxonomy developed by Bloom. If all goes well this will be available later next month – on request! Next month  will be working with a Welsh University on staff LTA development for two days and … next advanced Training the Trainer event based on the six dimensions learning model will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in late June.


Managing woods for wildlife

I am working voluntarily in a private woodland for a few days each month at present, reconnecting with nature, clearing old rides and re-instating old coppice. A chainsaw, you might think, would not be a friend of nature, however we are in fact managing to increase the wildlife in the wood: both plants and animals.

The woodland has been left untouched for a long time, without any of the old traditional methods of management that were used in the past that made this woodland a thriving working place for wood crops and wildlife. The overgrown rides when opened up will let more light in and increase the wildlife diversity, creating an edge effect. I am enjoying re-learning many skills from my days as a county wildlife conservation officer, a BTCV field officer and an RSPB warden. The moments when resting, and taking a coffee and listening to the sounds of nature in this ride (the photo above) are pure bliss for me and I realise how much I miss working in the outdoors! I enjoy ‘reading’ nature and its signals, like people read books: nature talks and tells me so much and the experiences are very special for me.

I am hoping to return to Patagonia early next year and again let my spirit free in the ‘wilds’ kayaking with my Chilean friend (‘wilderness’, is really not ‘wild’ at all, it is a place of beauty, and spiritual freedom). I am enjoying reading about this very Western notion of ‘wilderness’ in a book called: Wild, an elemental journey by Jay Griffiths. This great book is written by a women who has travelled and realy experienced some remarkable places around the world, including the Amazon and the Arctic far north, listening to remarkable indigenous people. This  book has been described in many reviews as profound and extraordinary. The book certainly challenges us to think about our langauge. spell-sensuous-abrams

The language that we take for granted in its every day usage. Langauge has played a major role in divorcing us from our natural being – a focus expanded upon in the writing of David Abram, particularly in his fabulous book: The Spell of the Sensuous.