Attend the July Next Generation Extension Webinar if you’d like learn how to make creative videos with your Apple or Android mobile device:
The session will be hands-on and not recorded. A detailed handout of the complete webinar will be available to participants after the presentation.
Link for the webinar: https://nebraskaextension.zoom.us/j/583999580
Do & read these 3 things BEFORE the webinar …. Continue reading
“People are like lightening…they follow the path of least resistance.” ~Deb Weitzenkamp
You have probably heard me say this before…but I find it just is so true. When working with 4-H families or colleagues, I’ve seen over and over again that there is a lot less following of Robert Frost’s “the road not taken” and a lot more of the “path of least resistance.” I admit, I’ve done this a lot too….it’s just easier to check things off the list if you follow a recipe that you have used before. ….But if your focus is always on checking things off the list, are you missing opportunities to pursue the really deep thought/huge impact opportunities available in Extension.
This weekend my family and I were discussing a “walk about” we took the day before Mother’s Day in May. We had went downtown Nebraska City only to find out that the store we were headed to wasn’t open yet. So, we strolled through several shops downtown as we bided our time. We happened to stop in a quilt shop. In that quilt shop, we were admiring a pieced quilt on display. The pieces of the quilt were exceptionally small, and we were remarking on how difficult that would have been. The owner quickly demonstrated the method that was used for piecing the quilt, and we were in awe of how simple that would make the quilt. My point….we took the road less traveled and happened upon something new that we would have never thought of before. And months later, we were still discussing it! That little stroll had made a huge impact on us….no longer were we thinking about how not to reinvent the wheel (traditional methods of piecing a quilt, and how difficult that technique would be)…instead we were thinking about how we could apply that new technique to lots of non-quilting related projects. We even discussed how a related technique could be applied to the production of resistors. 🙂
Perhaps it’s just human nature to want to follow the familiar, the well memorized method of getting somewhere/finishing some project…but I would challenge us all to rethink that, and just once in a while choose the “road not taken”. If you are not familiar with Robert Frost’s poetry, you can read the poem I’m citing….https://www.bartleby.com/119/1.html . Think about how this applies to the work that we do in Extension. Are we always choosing to “not reinvent the wheel” or are we actively seeking out creative solutions to our problems…seeking out new paths that might reveal even better solutions or opportunities for partnerships to grow Nebraska Extension. We don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel….but how many innovative new concepts have been applied to the vehicles we drive in the last 10 years?
I think for me, the choice of whether to “not reinvent the wheel” or follow the “road not taken” hinges around whether I perceive the work to be important to my professional goals. If I’m just trying to purchase something, or get somewhere….sure…chose not to reinvent the wheel….but if I’m doing something really deep and meaningful to my professional long term goals or thinking about how to do something so that it makes a bigger positive impact on the life of someone else, I need to spend a little time on the road less traveled.
I hope that this summer each of you spends a little time on the road less traveled. 🙂
What is Next Gen Extension?
Been hearing about some interesting PD Next Gen Extension is offering or recently read something unique and beneficial on the Next Gen blog? Been simply wondering what the Next Gen Extension Interest group is and does? This Zoom session discussed the who, what, why, where and how of Next Gen Interest Group. In addition, a review of the background on how the group got started, what has been accomplished and where we are going from here.
If you missed this webinar, you may watch the recording https://youtu.be/rV2Fx8gTlhQ . Ashley Benes served as the clinician.
Leah Gremm recently told me that she likes to challenge herself to learn one new word each day….whether that is a new English word, or in another language….she thinks it’s fun to throw these words into a workshop with her youth to broaden their understanding of their culture and other cultures. …So Leah…this post is for you!
This morning I was working on an online course that I’m enrolled in. I’m enrolled in the course for probably the same reason Leah learns new words…sometimes I take random online courses just to continue to challenge myself to learn new things. Today I learned about the German word einstellung. Einstellung directly translates to mean mindset. But a deeper meaning of the word is when a group or individual has such a deep knowledge in one particular area that they no longer can see alternative solutions to a problem…instead they just keep solving things the same way they have always solved a particular problem. Sound familiar? 🙂
Several years ago Chuck reorganized us around Issue Teams in the hope that we would create multidisciplinary teams that could look at a specific problem from multiple different facets and actually solve the problem by addressing it from the multiple different viewpoints….he was trying to get us out of a too defined einstellung!
Today I challenge everyone of us to avoid einstellung and look at a problem from a different view….like a photographer that captures an everyday item from a completely different angle, it just makes life so much more interesting!
A few weeks ago Carrie Gottschalk presented at Kimmel Education & Research Center on Behavior Management. One of the strategies she talked about was reframing our perceptions of what was actually happening, and in the reframing process to think about other rational reasons why the behavior might be happening instead of just jumping to an immediate conclusion. And that through reframing we might actually realize that the behavior we are having problems with might be a totally normal reaction to what they are experiencing…and that the behavior itself might not actually be that bad.
Today I received an email from Make magazine. Love those emails because I find them inspirational. Today, the quote they had in there made me realize that reframing a situation is a strategy used in a lot of different contexts. Here’s the quote:
“If you call failures experiments, you can put them in your resume and claim them as achievements.” – Mason Cooley, American Aphorist.
I love this quote because well it has a hint of truth in it. In today’s society we do have the opportunity to reframe a situation which a few decades ago we would have called a failure. Now we talk about “fail fast”, “failing forward”, “learning from our mistakes and moving on”, and “grit”. Aren’t these simply a reframing of our own reaction to perceived bumps in the road?
Several decades ago when I was working with student teachers I quickly realized that the best student teaching assignments typically were ones that didn’t quite go perfectly. The student teachers would come back and complain at first about some bump in the road, but then after the experience were far more likely to come back and talk about how much they appreciated that assignment, and learned from that experience. Our goal after all with the student teaching semester was to help the student understand what the teaching profession is all about. I’m not saying we wanted them to have a miserable time, but is it possible to go through an entire career in any profession and never run into a bump in the road? Is it also far better to learn how to adjust to the bumps in the road when you have a whole team of people ready to help you? Oh yeah, we also wanted them to learn something! 🙂 Learning how to adjust to the bumps is a big part of understanding your fit into a career. We typically didn’t hear about any learning happening in cases where there were no bumps in the student teaching assignment. …Hmmm…is a bump in the road a requirement of higher levels of learning (much like a stressor being a requirement for writing a really good movie or fiction book)? The time that is required to reframe the situation…is that a function of how dramatic the bump was OR how much learning took place? Is this really a function of grit, or perhaps a function of an individual’s ability for self-reflection and an interest and willingness for developing new neural pathways for learning/understanding? Perhaps this whole learning/reframing experience is analogous to understanding how travel and experience with other cultures helps us inform our own daily practices?
Back to Carrie….Carrie would say you need to vocalize three to seven acknowledgements of positive behavior for every one negative behavior you speak about in order to alter the behavior of the person in your class. ….Are we the same with self-talk? Do we need to successfully reframe three to seven career reflections for every acknowledged failure in order to have satisfaction with our careers? 🙂 And to what extent is that a function of what we hear from supervisors vs. what we are telling ourselves? Hmmmmm…. I’m sort of thinking that it makes it hard for supervisors to turn this around since they can’t hear your self-talk. I’ve read a lot of information about how supervisors greatly influence job satisfaction…but now I’m beginning to think that it might be a function of your own self-talk/ability to reframe that could be a higher predictor of job satisfaction.
So Extension….go forward and when you hit a bump, take some time to think about what you learned from the experience, and how you might be able to reframe that experience! …Pick a growth mindset!
….On April 5th, Next Generation Extension turned 5 years old! I know…I sort of missed it, but thought it would be fun to celebrate anyway! So come celebrate with me….post a “Happy Birthday” back to the blog!
Do you use project-based learning (PBL) when you teach? Is it only useful when working with children and youth? Jump on this webinar to learn more about what PBL means and why it is important in our work as Extension educators.
Tuesday, May 8th at 10:00 CDT
Link for webinar: https://nebraskaextension.zoom.us/j/583999580