It was a weird experience buying myself out of custody …

December 31st, 2015

The first indication that our Mexican driving experience would be different from others was when we collected the rental car. The welcome was friendly, yet business like, but very clear – any damage, however minor, and we would be charged. They went over this point in great detail and they (helpfully?) advised us to video the vehicle in its current state. I turned and saw another family who it appeared had been through this experience before; the whole family – two adults and two children – were checking each panel of the vehicle, one by one, and then photographing each one. It was a message we picked up throughout our travels – the majority of Mexicans don’t have very much, so they need to look after what they have.

Having left the airport, we soon encountered the three omnipresent hazards of which there was generally no warning – speed humps, holes in the road and dogs.

The Mexican speed humps (topes) come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from harsh to downright violent. There is little smoothness or finesse to them – they are semi-circular and often not dissimilar to a piece of rail track in shape or effect. Sometimes there is signpost indicating the driver’s imminent arrival, but often there is not. In addition to the fixed ones, locals also put thick rope across the road when they want you to slow down to buy their wares.

The speed humps are generally in and around towns, a little like the dogs. Packs of dogs are everywhere and presumably due to the heat they like to sleep during the day – on the road. What makes it particularly problematic is that – understandably – they like the shade which makes them difficult to see when there is sunlight all around the rest of the area.

The holes in the road, however, can be anywhere. These range from gaping holes across the whole of a motorway, as occurred a few hours before we were driving on it, and large holes which locals have placed crates in to ease one’s passage, through to roads that are peppered with all sorts of size holes across long distances. I was relieved I had opted for a Jeep on several occasions.

Whilst watching out for all these obstacles, being new to the country, we needed to map read our way around. Many signs weren’t signposted, GPS didn’t work in the more remote areas, many roads weren’t on the maps, and the maps were in Spanish when the places had their place names in Mayan – the names being completely different from the Spanish names.

At least the army and police checkpoints were well signposted. We must have been through about 30 or 40 of these. They are set up to monitor the alleged drug smuggling, arms smuggling and other criminal activity. Once we were identified as tourists, we were usually waved through without much ado, but larger vehicles in particular were usually given closer inspection.

The weather also had its say. Heavy rain and little or no drainage led to significant water on the road. In Merida, the area’s largest city and where the pictures were taken, the water had fallen for the previous 12 hours. It meant that in the Monday morning commute, driving was difficult particularly as all the holes in the road were hidden. The trick was to follow a local – and make the assumption that if they suddenly made a move to the left or right, they were avoiding an underwater obstacle. In a city where probably only 10% of the population had cars, it meant that people were trudging through water covered pavements and getting splashed by cars. They seemed both resigned and used to it.

All of the obstacles and challenges I have identified so far could be managed, avoided or negotiated without too much trouble. There was one challenge though that was more problematic – the dishonest police officer.

We were in the town of Felipe Carillo Puerto, a hundred miles or so south of Cancun. As we pulled up outside the tourist office, a police officer on a motor cycle drew level with us and demanded my driving licence. I handed it over (apparently, if I had been Mexican-savvy I would have taken a photocopy with me and handed that over), he put in the carrier on his motor cycle and he told us to follow him. He stopped about half a mile away at a spot where there were few other people and explained that I had been driving above the speed limit (which I hadn’t).  He offered me “no ticket” and the opportunity to pay him 4,000 Mexican Pesos (M$) – “no ticket” was the only English he could speak, he used a small notebook to communicate the cash required. I asked for a ticket, but that apparently wasn’t available. I said I wanted to go to the police station to deal with the matter, but he wasn’t having it – the only way I could have my licence back was to pay him M$4,000. There was a stand-off. I knew not to get angry – my reading had told me that in this situation that is the number 1 rule – but I also knew from a police acquaintance that recent intelligence indicated that sometimes travellers were taken hostage or suffered physical abuse – such as losing fingers – in such encounters with the officers purporting to be from the police or army. Eventually – about 5 minutes later – he crossed out the “M$4,000” in his small notebook and wrote “M$2,000”. Having in the back of my mind the potential worst case consequences of failing to reach a settlement, I offered M$1,000 and he accepted. He took it, I got my licence back and he told us to get out of town. He wouldn’t tell us his name – perhaps he realised it wasn’t through a desire to be friends on Facebook.

A good bit of work for him – the equivalent of a week’s pay in about 10 minutes. We were easy pickings with Thrifty Car Hire having their logo on our licence plates. For us, a scary, uncomfortable and disturbing encounter, and one which left a bad taste for the rest of the holiday. It was a great holiday – Mexico is a wonderful country to visit – but as we left the hire car centre to return to the airport I sighed. In some ways I was pleased and relieved to have handed back the car (in the condition we received it) and to have concluded the driving.

This incident occurred several months ago. I wrote to both the Mexican authorities and the British Embassy in Mexico at the time and I did not receive a response from either. It seems that my encounter with the officer is accepted practice – indeed the officer’s approach in the middle of a town indicates that he sees it as acceptable practice. And that is what, at the time, was most unacceptable about it all.

Perhaps the independent traveller has to accept this when visiting developing countries. Perhaps I should be pleased with the negotiations I undertook bearing in mind the possible consequences. On reflection, perhaps I need to accept the different culture and not try and overlay mine on theirs. Sometimes we just have to accept what appears on the face of it to be unacceptable. Perhaps I should be pleased I didn’t lose a finger or get kidnapped …

Paul

 

Clear Focus, New Heights – #5

December 29th, 2015

Go on, be Digitally Disruptive!

November 29th, 2015

I was struck by this photograph when I saw it on LinkedIn a few weeks ago. It made me think, “Have the opportunities for creativity, innovation and business ideas ever been as accessible to people with ideas”

 

The opportunity to bring an idea to fruition exists for us all if we have access to the internet, belief in our idea, self-motivation … and a great idea. If you have the great idea, others will provide your content.

On the same day as seeing this photo, a friend sent me a link to a website that his 14 year old son, Josh, has created. We were with Josh about 18 months ago and he had allowed us to see a poem he had written. My wife, Peta, was really impressed with the poem – he was proud of it and Peta hoped he would find a way to share it with others … he has obviously done some thinking in the meantime, considered how others might be in the same position to him, and put together a website where he and others can share their creative writings – abookinu. He has also created a short YouTube video explaining the concept.

Perhaps he could be creating the next line to this list on the photograph? Or perhaps it could be you? Or perhaps you have a book in you?

Go on, be disruptive!

Paul

 

When my memory deserted me …

October 11th, 2015

I don’t think I have ever reached inside myself with such intensity. I didn’t know where I was, why I was wherever I was, or the year. I had apparently been asking the same few questions over and over again for around 45 minutes, and it was just at this point that some of the information was starting to stick. My first recollection as I started to regain my memory was understanding that we were in Fazana, Croatia. This is a place I know well – it is close to the Croatian Police Training Centre and a place I regularly visited between 1999 and 2004 delivering training courses.

But if I was delivering courses, why was Peta, my wife, there? “What year is it?” I asked her. The reply was, “2015”. That threw me into complete disorientation. As I write this 4 weeks after the event, I can recall the way I looked around the hotel room desperately trying to make sense of the situation, as if it was only an hour ago. My intense concentration was directed in particular to the TV (they didn’t have TVs in the rooms at the training centre so what was this very modern looking one doing here?), the suitcase (I didn’t recognise it, it wasn’t mine as far as I was concerned) and the key in the door (I have absolutely no idea why my attention was drawn to this!).  My eyes must have looked like lasers as I tried to make sense of the situation.

The glorious Fazana

What had happened, I learned later, was that I had got out of bed, passed out, dropped to the wooden floor, hit the back of my head on the floor and knocked myself out. I was unconscious for a short period of time, so I am told, and then as I came round announced, “I know I’m Paul and you’re Peta, but I’m not sure about anything else”.

One of the sentences I used on several occasions was, Peta tells me, “Ok, let’s put a line in the sand … what time is it now, and we will see that I remember everything after this time”. This occurred at least a dozen times in the 45 minutes, and of which I have no recollection. Groundhog Day had become a reality during this short space of time.

I can recall, as my memory started returning, being confident all was back to normal. I declared this confidently. The next question changed all that. “How did we get here yesterday”, Peta asked. I just looked at the suitcase and realised I had no idea. Absolutely no idea. And internally I couldn’t accept that I had no idea.

After an hour, I felt as though I was fully recovered. I went for a check-up at Pula hospital which confirmed this and, incidentally, received excellent care – I saw three different doctors, saw a neurosurgeon, had an ECG and had a head x-ray all in the space of 3 hours, and it was a Sunday morning. The total cost was £4.80, and I got a free CD containing my x-rays (as you can see from the photos).

More seriously, however, for Peta the 45 minutes were “bewildering and scary” (Peta’s exact words), as she didn’t know what was happening nor how long it was going to last. It was mildly less worrying for her than it might had been for others as she has seen so many people fall off horses and some of the falls having had similar consequences for the riders.

For me, it was just hugely interesting and such a learning experience. In particular the point at which my memory was returning – around the time I realised that I couldn’t remember how we had got to Fazana.

 

Sunset at Fazana, Croatia

My ‘affective domain’ learning relates to gaining a very small, but significant, insight into how it can be for people suffering with memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other similar ailments.

My experience of not being able to recall facts and having to concentrate so much to try and recall information was so difficult to accept. What must it be like if the memory never returns? What must it be like to constantly get confused about where you are, when it is and who you are with?

This weekend has seen World Mental Health Day. According to its site, “One in four adults and one in ten children are likely to have a mental health problem in any given year.”  The more we understand, the more compassion we can give, and this in turn will help such people live with dignity.

The next time I encounter a person with a mental health issue, I will approach the situation with this experience at the forefront of my mind.

Paul

 

 

Clear Focus, New Heights – #4

August 23rd, 2015

Breathe’s YouTube channel goes live!

August 11th, 2015

Very excited to launch our YouTube channel! I have had so much (yes, so much!) fun in creating my first half a dozen vlogs, and learned so much too. The first few are spoilt slightly due to the sound quality (the Colorado River caused the problem), but I am learning – and have purchased an additional microphone! Two vlogs available at the moment, the others to be released gradually and two more currently in production – one using Lego which has been particularly fun! If you choose to watch any – thank you – and any feedback welcome to help me in my learning!

Paul

Kansas City – no grey areas

August 5th, 2015

I first became aware of Kansas City through my love of the Beatles’ music – I used to listen to Paul McCartney’s upbeat lyrical rendition of the Leiber and Stoller original on my vinyl version of the ‘Beatles for Sale’ album.  Consequently, Kansas is one of those places that has a musical meaning for me – like Winslow, Albuquerque and Wichita – that have featured along my train journey across the US on the South West Chief (the old Santa Fe Railroad route).

So much so, and due to the City’s influence on American music – and jazz in particular – I decided to stop off there for a day. Its 101-year old Union Station is a cathedral of the railroad, as so many US stations are, and has been beautifully renovated. It welcomes the arriving traveller with dedications to two of its most significant contributions to the history of the country – music and baseball.

I walked to my hotel in the Downtown area to check in. “Okay, you are from England. What brings you to Kansas City?” was the Receptionist’s question once she had ascertained who I was. I have recognised that this question – or versions of it –is generally included in the conversation when I arrive at locations that are not generally visited by English people.  It’s almost as if the staff think that they might have missed something that’s taking place, escaped their radar. I can recall similar such interjections in Natchez, Mississippi, and Tallahassee, Florida.

Having satisfied the Receptionist that I knew where I was and there wasn’t a convention that she didn’t know about, I asked if there was any tourist information material. She kindly offered me a couple of maps, and gave me details of the rejuvenated shopping centre area (a couple of miles away). She was also keen to inform me of the fact that Kansas City has the second most fountains of any city in the world. It is second behind Paris, apparently.

My limited research on the city had not elicited either of these pieces of information. My research had recommended to me the town centre, Science City and Union Station, how Bar-B-Q meat was the local treat, and also how the American Museum of Jazz, the Blue Room jazz venue and the Museum of Negro League Baseball were all to be found in the city.

The Museums were in the “18th and Vine” district, so off I trotted. The area was about 15 blocks from Downtown and the map indicated that they were located together. About 8 – 10 consecutive blocks of my journey contained little if any housing; the majority of the buildings were industrial, some in use and some ‘between occupants’.

On my way, I checked for “the corner of Twelfth Street and Vine” as is mentioned in the original lyrics to Kansas City, to see if there was, “a Kansas City baby and my bottle of Kansas City wine”. Sadly, the junction didn’t even exist – perhaps that’s why the lyrics were dropped from the Beatles’ version?

At the Negro League Baseball Museum, I learned how influential and successful the Kansas City Monarchs had been in the days of segregated leagues, thus giving justification to the location of the Museum geographically within the US. I also learned how Presidents, First Ladies and rock stars had been to visit (and I guess the shopping area hasn’t had a similar level of dignitaries). Finally, I learned that the Blue Room had live music that evening.

I did already know that “18th and Vine” is a predominantly ethnically black area. I had also seen conflicting advice on various websites as to how safe or dangerous it was to visit the area. Whilst being aware of this, having some knowledge of recent and significant racial tensions in Missouri (the vast majority and all major buildings in the city being in Missouri, not the State of Kansas), I decided to wander back in the evening to check out the Blue Room.

Between times, I learned that that there had been an appalling massacre a few hours earlier at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The TV news channels were devoting most of their time to the unfolding story. A lone gunman had killed 9 members of the congregation, it appeared to be racially motivated and emotions were understandably running high.  Should I change my plans for the evening? I decided not to.

Prior to going to the music venue, and because it was pretty much en route, I decided to also visit Gates Bar-B-Q for a Kansas signature feast – the place had been recommended to me by the ticket teller in Flagstaff (well over a 1,000 miles away).

As I made my way to Gates, and then to the Blues Room, it was obvious that this was an area where black Americans lived. Where games were being played, all the ball players were black. All the meetings on street corners were between black people. There was also a different feel to when I had been there in the morning. There were a lot more people and it was also a lot noisier. But at no point did I fell threatened. But at no point did I feel welcome. It was the same when I left the Blue Room.

Only two people proactively made an effort to speak to me whilst I spent my hour or so walking in the area – a man who had left his car to pop into a shop and a man working on a streetlight. They were also the only two white Americans I saw whilst I was there. It reminded me of how away supporters at a sports who have never met before are more likely to engage with each other than home supporters in a similar situation. It also left me feeling uncomfortable.

And there were no fountains in this part of the city.

When I arrived back in Downtown Kansas City, it was later in the evening and the place was buzzing. Lots of young people, a couple of large concerts taking place and several smaller venues with live music. The vast majority of those out and about (excluding those at work) were white Americans.

It had a very different feel from 18th and Vine. No better, no worse, just different. Absolutely nobody spoke to me here, black or white.

The Negro League Baseball Museum had been all about segregation – black players not being able to play with white players. This had finally been eradicated in 1960 – but I have to say it felt like it was still evident in the city itself.

But is it any different in certain areas of Britain? Is it just more apparent in the US because of the ready access to firearms and the incidents this creates?

Whatever the realities in either country, this is not a model for diverse integration. Some people may be comfortable living like this, but it will always engender hatred in a minority of people through ignorance and a lack of understanding.

A small step in the right direction could be a few fountains in 18th and Vine – which could be a start to it feeling more like one City – and the City might also overtake Paris then.

Paul

 

Fifty Shades of Red

July 12th, 2015

During my rafting trip along the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon we covered 225 miles. Along the way, there were many things that I expected – and there were things that were an absolute revelation to me.

The first revelation was the importance of the Canyon’s geology together with the mesmerising beauty of its different coloured layers, complicated by the constant zigzag of equally evocative fault lines.

The whole of the journey was through Arizona, which I already knew came from the Spanish “Arid zona” – what I didn’t know was that the name Colorado comes from the Spanish for “Colour red”.  And the River was red – in places. It was also many shades of red and many other colours besides. Every morning when I awoke, being only a few yards away, it was both easy and fascinating to check on what nature’s paint palette had created overnight – as its colour often changed from how it was the previous evening.

Its colour depended on the part of the river we were on, the amount of rain that had fallen, the waterfalls, side canyons, washes and creeks that were feeding into it, and the speed of the river (the CFS – Cubic Feet per Second) to name four. Look at these pictures of its different colours.

The very bright blue water is the Little Colorado River – a counterpoint to the usually murky waters of the Colorado.

I also came to appreciate that the colour was one of the aspects of the river that the guides used in assessing how it would be for our rafting that day. It helped them to decide how they were going to work with it.

As I lay be the river one morning, mesmerised by its beauty and power, I started to think about how the Colorado was very like a team.

On the face of it, the same river passes through the same route every day.  A traveller would think like that at their peril. A good river guide treats it as a different river every day, and recognises its changes during the day. And this is what a great manager does with their team.

A poor manager sees the same team coming to work every day, whilst a great manager doesn’t have the same team coming to work every day. A great manager has individuals coming to work who will be different every day – and so the team will be too. The great manager notices those differences and manages accordingly – like a great river guide.

In the Harvard Business Review, Marcus Buckingham highlights his findings from research that started with a survey of 80,000 managers conducted through the Gallup Organization and then continued for two years with in-depth studies of a few top performers.  Buckingham found, “… that while there are as many styles of management as there are managers, there is one quality that sets truly great managers apart from the rest: They discover what is unique about each person and then capitalize on it. Average managers play checkers, while great managers play chess. The difference? In checkers, all the pieces are uniform and move in the same way; they are interchangeable. … In chess, each type of piece moves in a different way, and you can’t play if you don’t know how each piece moves. More important, you won’t win if you don’t think carefully about how you move the pieces. Great managers know and value the unique abilities and even the eccentricities of their employees, and they learn how best to integrate them into a coordinated plan of attack.”

Generally, people leave managers, not organisations.

In “The Value of a Good Manager”, Peter Drucker itemises the four foundations that employees look for in managers. They are:

  • Managers who show care, interest and concern for their staff
  • To know what is expected of them
  • A role which fits their abilities
  • Positive feedback and recognition regularly for work well done.

The first foundation is all about managers recognising the fifty thousand shades of their teams. And in terms of the Colorado, where the likes of the Little Colorado meet the Colorado (picture on the left), that could be seen as a new member of staff joining the team.

What can you do next? Think about yourself, your skills, your interventions with your staff. Drucker suggests five questions to help you:

  • Do I demonstrate care, concern and interest?
  • Am I clear in talking through what’s expected of my staff?
  • Are people working to their strengths? Do I provide support where staff are stretched? Am I proactive in this?
  • How often do I provide positive feedback and encouragement? It’s far too easy to notice the negative and feedback on this.
  • Am I creating the conditions where people want to work with me?

What colour is your river today, and why?

Paul

Rapid Lava Learning

June 29th, 2015

Mile 180. Lava Falls Rapid, Grand Canyon. One of the most notorious, if not the most notorious, rapid on the Colorado River within the Grand Canyon.  A snarling, noisy cauldron of churning waters intent on devouring anything or anyone who doesn’t show any respect – and some who do.

For those people like me rafting the 225 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon this is one of the white water highlights. For the guides taking us down the river, this is also a highlight – but even more so a challenge. They know the risk of the boats capsizing, together with the risk of serious injury (or worse) for themselves or their charges if the relevant respect is not shown. They also know that reputations are won and lost on the few seconds taken to navigate Lava Falls. YouTube logs many guides’ attempts to negotiate the rapids – often the ones that didn’t go according to plan.

I had already witnessed our guides ‘scouting’ (this is where the guides leave the boats and walk ahead an up so that they can look down on the rapids to check the prevailing conditions) previous challenging rapids and seen indications of the seriousness and perhaps mild apprehension with which they approached them – tones of voices became more serious, then, as they stood over the rapids the tightening of already recently tightened life-vest straps.

Different guides displayed different signs, and I was particularly impressed by one of the guides in terms of her skills in these situations. Kiki is a woman in her mid-twenties who has guided many parties and regards the Grand Canyon – and in particular the Colorado River – as her home.  She has also never capsized a boat on the river – although she has taken quite a few unintentional swims through rapids – but is aware that capsizing is likely to happen at some point.

I was interested in her approach to navigating Lava Falls and she was kind enough to spend some time discussing it with me the evening before we “ran Lava”.

There were several points of particular note.

Kiki said that Lava Falls enters her consciousness early on in the trip (although the Falls are not negotiated until around Day 12), and often prior to the start of the trip. She described experiencing short “adrenalin bursts” on these occasions in anticipation of the Falls. When I asked how she reacted to these, she explained that whenever she experienced this, she would visualise the Falls and her anticipated route through the Falls (the preferred route can alter depending on a number of factors, but mainly on the water level of the River). Kiki found this a useful process in both making use of the adrenalin burst and in meaningful preparation for the rapids.

She then described how the guides would discuss the Falls the evening prior to running them, and how on the actual day of the event as she approached the Falls she would start to experience some nervousness and anticipation. She recognised that whilst these emotions were understandable, they were also potentially unhelpful, so she recognised and dealt with them.  She achieved this by discussing information and factual aspects about the Falls with her passengers. She explained that this helped expel the unhelpful emotions and focussed her on the cognitive task in hand in a helpful manner.

Having scouted the Falls and returned to her boat to run the Rapids, Kiki described how she monitored her breathing. She recounted how if she then felt apprehensive at all, she would take deep breaths – for two reasons. Firstly because it helped her to refocus her energy and ensure she was in the best physiological state to negotiate Lava, and secondly for a very practical reason – if she did capsize or go for an unintentional swim she would have plenty of breath! The importance of this last point was illustrated by one of the other guides who explained how they were thrown out of their boat, spent 38 seconds underwater in the clutches of the Colorado and were then spat out 25 yards from where they went under.

Finally, Kiki explained how she reflected on her approach, line and skills after the event – considering what went well and what, if anything she could have done differently – thus maximising her learning for the next time.

The majority of people reading this will not be river guides, but the approaches, behaviours, processes and practices that Kiki so effectively uses are instantly transferable to other situations – she demonstrates a use of Emotional Intelligence beyond her years in recognising and managing her emotions, she understands and applies the principles of being focused and managing her breathing, and she makes the most of every experience by implementing the Experiential Learning Cycle.

Whilst I have written about them before, I think this is a really helpful and practical application of these theories, and it demonstrates how versatile and effective they can be in supporting effective performance – whatever the context.

If I had been training as a river guide, the discussion we had would also have been a good illustration of NLP Modelling. If you want to identify and fully reproduce the detailed skills of a successful person, it is insufficient purely to watch their behaviours – you need to fully explore and comprehend their thoughts, mind-set and emotions in order to achieve their level of excellence. Due to the breadth, depth and quality of information gleaned, the process also accelerates a person’s learning.

And how did we get on? All the oared boats made it through, but the lighter (and more likely to capsize) paddle boat didn’t make it. It capsized, throwing out all seven occupants, however, four climbed on top of the overturned raft to row it through “Son of Lava Falls”, and the three others swam it – with one of the occupants receiving a minor head injury which looked a lot worse than it was due to the amount of blood he lost. A reminder of the power of Lava Falls and the need for the preparation and skills Kiki displayed.

Paul

 

Pedagogy v Andragogy … v Humanagogy?

May 4th, 2015

A colleague recently drew my attention to an article, “Pedagogy vs. Andragogy: A False Dichotomy?”. (Being a person with a Reflector-Theorist learning style) I found it a fascinating read.

These two terms are often used to describe, respectively, how children learn and how adults learn. As the article explains, “The term (Pedagogy) is derived from the Greek words ‘paid’, meaning ‘child’ and ‘agogus’ meaning ‘leader of’ …. Andragogy is based on the Greek word ‘aner’ with the stem ‘andra’ meaning ‘man, not boy’ or adult, and ‘agogus’ meaning ‘leader of’”.

I have been a strong supporter of Andragogy for many years and always include it in Train the Trainer programmes I deliver. When I explain it, I tend to call it the Principles of Adult Learning.

I have also always been mildly uncomfortable with the term Andragogy, as I am aware that the approach is equally relevant to the development of learning for children – not just adults. It also implies that adults are easily able to embrace its principles, and I am aware from experience that this is not always the case.

It is, therefore, more about the group of people we as trainers or facilitators are leading, and the article introduces a term that I have not come across before – Humanagogy. The term was introduced by Knudson in 1980 and the article explains, “Unlike the separate terms of pedagogy and andragogy, humanagogy represents the differences as well as the similarities that exist between both adults and children as learning human beings. It approaches human learning as a matter of degree, not kind.” The emphasis here is moving the focus from an aged based assessment to an assessment comprising a wider range of criteria, such as subject matter, learning styles of the individuals, their level of motivation to learn, etc., but also including age.

This approach links very well with Heron’s 6 Dimensions of Facilitator Style. Heron’s model, as I explain here, is all about the facilitator considering the needs of the group in 6 discrete areas (Dimensions) and then deciding throughout the session whether their style should be Hierarchical (predominantly pedagogical), Co-operative, or Autonomous (predominantly Andragogical).

For me, Heron’s model develops the Humanagogical approach from a 2-D model to a 3-D model. It does this by explicitly indicating that whilst the initial assessment of the group’s needs in a way that matches with Knudson’s Humanagogy is entirely appropriate, this situation needs to be continually re-assessed by the facilitator – almost on a minute by minute basis, based on the group’s reactions and actions – in order to maximise the learning taking place.

I would have to agree with the article’s authors, Geraldine Holmes and Michele Abington-Cooper, that the terms Pedagogy and Andragogy do create a false dichotomy. Perhaps it should be a continuum with Humanagogy in the middle?

I will definitely be including Humanagogy in my future inputs and discussions on this topic.

Throughout the planning for and delivery of any session, the needs and motivations of the individuals have to be paramount. Any model, theory or discussion that helps facilitators understand, recognise, include and manage these needs has to be useful.

What are your thoughts?

Paul