Core Values (Alpha Version)
After 5 years of teaching public sector employees, graduate students, and a variety of adult learners around the country, we’ve come to a set of core values when it comes to providing an engaging, interesting, and relevant training experience:
- Learner-centered Focus. Putting the experience of the learner foremost in our approach is fundamental to what we’ve done and continue to do. Whenever possible, we engage in a process of exploration using user-centered design techniques, especially design thinking adapted to the work of developing curriculum to ensure we’re meeting the needs of the learners we encounter. Whenever possible, we’re getting feedback on the quality of the learning experience so we can improve what we offer. Above all, we’re teaching not for completeness, but for comprehension.
- Adaptability. No two students are the same and no two classes will be the same. Classrooms will offer different amenities and challenges. Events in the world around us will impact how the material resonates (or doesn’t) with those who are participating in our classes. We must be constantly shifting our approach to account for the conditions in which we find ourselves and be attentive to the experience of the learner.
- Honesty and Transparency. We are agents of change; catalysts for a culture of openness about our assumptions, beliefs, and actions. We can’t teach the value of data and truthful communication if we don’t practice it ourselves. In ways large and small, we reinforce this alternative approach and must be intentional about how our actions reflect our values. When things go wrong, or in most cases, horribly right, we must be able to acknowledge this to our students. Ultimately, we will preserve our integrity and their trust in ways pretending otherwise will never do.
- Vulnerability. Essential to each of the above values is a commitment to being vulnerable to ourselves and others. As a devoted follower of Brené Brown, I’ve come to understand the pivotal role vulnerability has in our openness to the needs of others. Being invulnerable isolates us, often leading us to impose our own values and narratives in all our interactions. When we get up in front of a classroom, we’re giving ourselves permission to be wrong, to be criticized, and to be okay with all of that. We believe our honesty and openness will win us more friends than enemies. We believe our commitment to adapting to the needs of the learners and our focus on their experience will provide the necessary conditions to make our time together worthwhile.
I call this the alpha version because articulating the values we bring to our training is still a work in progress. Other values are no doubt present and in updating this to a beta version, we will be describing those values and how they play out in our work.
In the meantime, please feel free to share your comments on our core values and if you’ve taken one of our training classes, what you thought of the experience.