Education helps you to keep promises
Do what you said you would do before you get too tired, too old, or too busy doing something else. Education sessions help the community to keep up with the leaders and better understand what needs to be done to make things happen. It does not matter the style of education as long as it is practical and relevant.
If you want your community to grow and improve you have to feed and water it just like you would a plant. You probably spend much time with the entrepreneurs and people in your community, so you get to see and hear a lot when it comes to what is going on in the community.
There are many good days when things are going well, but there are more desperate days when the chips are down, and it is more about damage control or trying to keep things from becoming worse.
Raise the bar on education and build a better community, better businesses and better lifestyles. The ultimate upgrade to a better future comes from better education which levels the playing field. It also irons out the wrinkles and unearths the endless possibilities. It does not mean everyone has to go to a university.
However, it does mean everyone should be continuously learning from books, workshops, seminars and conferences. Wherever possible people should try to learn from people who have practical experience.
New knowledge will always be required
The people in every community have lots of information and knowledge. However, it is essential to look at what information and knowledge are needed to ‘turn the tap on’ to a brighter future. By being persistent people placed in a learning environment will eventually come up with the answers they need, using education as a catalyst.
Education can and does unearth endless possibilities.
There is nothing complicated in itself, but the longer you let people in the businesses go without education, the more their problems become overwhelming, and the more complex their lives become. While there may not be anything new happening in your community, your approach to acquiring new knowledge should become a priority.
Education required good questioning techniques
Before embarking on an education program, it is a good idea to brush up on your questioning techniques. It is proper questioning techniques which lead to better outcomes.
A good conversationalist knows how asking ‘closed’ questions is no way to make real friends and uncover possibilities for improvement. Similarly, in community research, there are limitations inherent to closed questions.
However, there is much value in asking both ‘open’ and ‘closed’ questions when you are seeking to understand a community and start to educate the people on the possibilities for a brighter future.
A closed question is a question where the answers are limited to a set of structured confines. It may be “yes or no”, or “true or false”, but what is familiar to all closed questions is there is a limit to the number of answers you will receive.
An open question is the opposite of a closed question; They are designed to encourage full and more detailed responses which are entirely free of restraint. They are great for eliciting deeper connections, emotions, and insights you may not have thought of before designing an educational program.
What questions should you ask the community
Here is a range of open questions you could use when interviewing people in the community about their future:
- What do you think of the community?
- How would you change things in this community?
- What is the one thing I should do to make things better for you?
- What should people stop doing in the community?
- Can you describe for me an example of a good business?
- How well do you think the health services meet the community wants and needs?
- What sort of education programs have you been involved with in the past?
- Do you think the local government is doing enough to meet the community’s needs?
These examples can be made specific to the situation and individual role or problem. However, they are all designed to elicit valuable responses you can address.
Knowledge is power
Chances are, you have already had at least a basic level of education made available to you already. However, by understanding different types of questions you further education will take a quantum leap forward:
- More Information Questions. Are used to gain understanding and add depth to the person’s involvement. Facilitators need to know how to use this question to draw out more information. The words used include ‘describe’, ‘tell me’ and ‘explain’.
- Redirection Questions. Are used when a person will often ask questions of you, to follow-up on a remark made by you or someone in the community. It is important the facilitator remain neutral in content and proactive in structure. If the question is to do with structure, answer it. If the question refers to content, consider redirecting it to other community members. As the facilitator, you might respond by appropriately redirecting the question to others in a group.
- Feedback and clarification questions. These questions are used in meetings when you or the facilitator needs to bring closure or clarification to a topic under discussion. At the same time, it is essential all group members be together in understanding the status of the issue. At such times, clarification and feedback questions are appropriate.
If you want real answers during an interview, you have to ask the right questions, and the more unexpected, the better.
If you want the best outcomes from education, start to learn about asking the right questions.
All too often when it comes to a winning or losing, you will find the person who asks the most appropriate questions usually wins. Rather than asking questions about opportunities and possibilities ask about problems and frustrations to be solved.
“Education gives you the ‘power to go’, lift your horizon and explore the many opportunities available in the community” Peter Sergeant
“When education is wanting, so is the community. Prosperity comes with practical education and knowledge so make education a priority in community planning”. Peter Sergeant