Permission

This past semester my passion for learning was reignited. I reckon I learned as much as, if not more than, the students.

So why was this semester different from any other? Well, the course I’ve been ‘lecturing’ on was in flux before I came along. It’s subject is one that I believe too is in a similar state; it is for me contentious.

Before we’d begun, I was told previous cohorts had asked for more guest lecturers and they’d not been keen on having been taught from a textbook. So I wasn’t about to begin ‘professing’ and I certainly wasn’t going to go about it alone.

I got on ‘the blower’. I called up a few friends, all of whom I know directly or indirectly through Hub Melbourne, a super awesome coworking community where collaboration brings innovation.

Each week my friends would share tales from their work lives with the students. Common themes emerged but one commonality that stood out more than any was their willingness to give the students permission. They didn’t talk at the class, or to them, they talked with them. Our discussions were open, we didn’t really know where they were headed, and they were heaps of fun. We even lost track of time. We had permission to take the conversation wherever we wanted, yet all the time we were learning.

The notion of permission is one that underpins life at Hub Melbourne. As members we have permission to play, create and imagine. Why? We’re given a blank canvass. The canvass is ours to share. Coming together to fill the canvass creates new and novel ideas.

And what about the students? Well, taking their permission and applying it to their tutorial assignments, they flipped the classroom. Given an open-ended problem their took it and ran with it. The students ran the tutes, and we all learned stuff. The results were awesome – websites, team-building exercises, simulations and communities of practice.

So what did I learn? I learned from Hubbers how to give permission to others to play with ideas, create their own meanings, and imagine the possibilities. I learned from the students that given permission they’ll take the class by the scruff of the neck and we’ll all learn together.

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