When Community and Professional Learning Collide

Categories: Community Engagement and Education.

Maaike Vandeweghe shares details of St Christopher’s new person-centred approach to education.

It was the great American philosopher and educationalist John Dewey who said:
“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”

In other words, education must keep evolving if it is to remain relevant and have the desired impact.

With this front of mind and our stated aim at St Christopher’s CARE to provide learning that’s relevant for both professionals and the community, my role and that of my colleague Mary Hodgson have changed.

We are Co-Leads of CARE. I have responsibility for professional learning, while she takes the lead for community learning.

Working closely together over the last few months has been truly eye-opening for both of us, but I think for me in particular. It’s made me re-evaluate our whole approach. In the coming months I hope you’ll come to see a subtle but significant shift in emphasis.

If we are serious about providing more person-centred care to more people, then we must put those people at the centre of our education.

At each of the recent conferences we’ve hosted here at CARE, it’s always the first hand stories that stick and motivate people to change and that is the answer to how we should work in the future.

Historically, we’ve talked about people with lived experience.

From now on, we’ll refer to these hugely important people as lived experience advocates who will influence what professionals learn and how they learn with us because there is so much power in the cutting edge ideas they can share.

Storytelling and people’s experiences will be a crucial thread running through everything we do.

Mary and I have devoted a lot of time to thinking about this approach. This includes comparing it against the Four Cs of our pedagogical framework: Collaborative, Current, Challenging and Context Specific.

Whichever way you look at it, putting lived experience advocates front and centre aligns perfectly. It’s clearly Collaborative. They provide the Context and the Challenge as well as ensuring it is Current.

We’re very keen to include you, our community of learners, both professional and community, to be a part of this process of change.

So, look out for a festival of learning in the coming months as we run a season of events to model what future professional and community learning will look like and how they will influence each other.

To give you a flavour of what to expect, consider Advance Care Planning.

It’s a hugely important issue for people to be enabled to write down their preferences and share the with their loved ones. But ACP is a very clinical, medical, impersonal term. So, we’re planning to run a conference that’ll focus on the issue but, crucially, be run by lived experience advocates.

They will invite the professionals into their space, as it were, rather than the other more traditional way – shifting the power dynamic to influence positively the way we approach and talk about this critical issue. More information about the ACP conference be announced soon.

As hospices, we want to reach more people. To do that we’re going to have to be bold, be innovative and cutting edge. I think that colliding community and professional learning will play a key part if we are to succeed in this quest.


For more news go  to: St Christopher’s CARE


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