Surfacing Teachable Moments in Community

I’ve had this post sitting in draft for a while now, but was nudged to work on it a bit more — after reading, and being inspired by Jascha’s post.

Yes words are seeds, and I am most definitely figuring out the story with this post, which dates back to the Mozilla Festival in November.


The Mozilla Festival has always been a major influence in shaping my community goals for the next year. This year, I leveraged the event to invest in conversations and experiences that might help me better understand ways to support our community in their learning and leading goals for 2016 .

I also payed very close attention to my own journey, always trying to improve, learn and grow. What emerged was the opportunity and importance of surfacing and sharing ‘teachable moments’.

Teachable Moment
In education, is the time at which learning a particular topic or idea becomes possible or easiest.
Wikipedia

My teachable moment came while running a session I wasn’t fully prepared for. Details aside, I saw how being defensive about the content I had prepared, resulted in a missed opportunity to make it better — and worse, resulted in content and outcomes that were less inclusive of other perspectives.

Knowing I did this bothered me a lot. I wondered how I could experiment with improving my openness to challenge during facilitation, let go of insecurities, and ultimately generate curriculum that could teach others to do the same.

How can get better at teaching what we learn in community?

I then devoured a book called Open to an Outcome: A practical guide for facilitating and teaching experiential reflection, which suggests these five questions in evaluating experiences:

What did you notice?

Why did it happen?

Does that happen in life?

Why does that happen?

How can you use that?

For open source communities — I would also add a sixth question: “How can you use that to benefit Community Participation?”.

In Orlando at our recent workweek, the Rust Team’s story and reflection of their case study involving community in decision making was inspiring - and again left me wondering. How can take what they learned, and create experiences that teach others?

What is emerging for me overall, is more of a question but one with exciting potential if we can create an answer: “ How as a community, can we make experiential reflection something we do and share regularly?” How can we use the set of questions provided, to generate learning experiences for others and in a perfect world improve the Participation Leadership Framework as part of that? What would that look like?

Image by Amit Gupta CC BY-NC 2.0