Knowledge is not a one-way road: Participatory learning for empowerment

The Gaia Education Training of Trainers in Thailand took place from 27 February – 13 March, 2019 at a beautiful beach location, and with a wide diversity among the 31 participants from South, Southeast, and Northeast Asia, US and Europe. Under the title ‘Mindful Participatory Facilitation for Empowerment’, the experienced team led by Pracha Hutanuwatra and Jane Rasbash skilfully facilitated a powerful and transformational learning journey, reflected here by Sarah Horowitz: 

The Training of Trainer course was an unforgettable learning journey for me.  Through a combination of discussion, play, meditation, trust-building, and facilitation practice, we got to experience first-hand what happens when knowledge is not a one-way road from teacher to student, but co-created by the entire group. 

 

The rich diversity of cultures, experiences, and skillsets across our cohort made for a vibrant learning environment unlike any classroom I’ve been in before. Being located right on the beach, with no walls and no powerpoints, was also a delightful break from the conventional classroom!  Combined with daily mindful meditation practice to calm and focus the mind, endless supplies of crayons and paper, a balanced mix of personal work and group time, and awesomely fresh and nurturing food, it was an optimal learning environment.

 

I leave this training with a deeper understanding of the synergies between mindfulness, facilitation, and empowerment. I also leave feeling more attuned to the connections between my own work as a community development worker in China and issues at regional and global scales. With gratitude to all the staff, facilitators, and participants for showing up so fully and making this a truly rich learning experience!