A Pair Of Ruby Slippers

October 21, 2006

The Haunted Forest

Filed under: MACMP — author @ 4:32 pm

“I cupidshut_1916_272141550.gifhaven’t got a brain… only straw”

Only now its sort of soupy, damp straw. Stuffed full of ideas about the theories of change, the pros and cons of online learning, incidents of change at work and in my industry, worry about how on earth I am going to fit everything in and concern over who is going to load up the next lot of washing and whether Jamie would approve of what I have planned for the kids’ tea. This is how I sum up my first couple of weeks on my course.

Why is it that everyone else can seem to spout a theory complete with an important sounding name without having to spend the hours I am on the internet or curb crawling the library shelves? Perhaps they do, but they are mighty quick at it.

Between the trees in this Haunted Forest though I am starting to get a sense of what I would like to investigate for my first project. I want to examine the role of the Corporate Website, not least because ours is frankly rather rubbish and I know there is loads we could be doing to sort that. This is a great opportunity not to do, but rather to think first and cast a critical eye over what has gone before and future suggestions before starting our overhaul at work.

I need a big dollop of bravery though, I would like to make a film about this rather than write a report. Can I really show a film I have made to Corporate Affairs without having to hide under my desk for the rest of my life? Plus I will need to research it all on paper first, am I just doubling my work? Hmmm more thought required, off to wash marmite sandwiches and cook smelly socks whilst I ponder.



  1. I don’t think the forest is haunted, it’s just rather dark. However, marmite sandwiches don’t count as cooking, even in my batchelor book.

    As for making a film, well that sounds like a great idea. In my experience, making films is fun, but making them with friends is funnerer. I seem to recall that this course is about ideas, not practical skills, which means i think that it’s ok to offer to help with your film? We’ve got everything you’d need here, so why don’t you bring the family down for a weekend make it by the sea? If we time it right we can probably winkle the CEMP boys and girls out of the office to join in.

    Comment by 062 — October 22, 2006 @ 11:30 pm | Reply

  2. I can totally empathise with the soggy straw syndrome – as a trainer you turn up to most jobs with the expectation (or at least in my head the expectation is there) that you’re going to be the expert in whatever it is that day. (cue – soggy straw and queezy belly)

    I can’t help thinking of the usefulness of the “socratic method” (more theory for you) in defusing this in the classroom and (in true Socratic style) pose the question to you and your group: “can the questioning style be used effectively in a virtual setting to assist learning?” I ask this bexause I can read answers to my questions more accurately from non-verbal responses “in the moment”. Anyone can sound smart from behind a PC with a Wikipedia in their pocket

    Why throw Socrates into the ring here? Well, his style was all about asking questions, and encouraging the group assembled to test and find the limits of their knowledge by asking questions. It seems to me (in a highly non-empirical way) that often the smartest people in my training rooms are the askers and not the answerers. I think, especially at the start of a new course, some folk are about showing what they know (or want to appear to know) in advance of settling down and doing some really incisive questioning.(Some never get to that stage in a 2-year engagement!)

    As you know, Transactional Analysis gives us that wonderful term the “Little Professor” which describes those who feel compelled to contribute, more out of a sense of showing what they know on a subject, or that they know something, than from a genuine desire to enrich the debate / learning.

    So, in summary, and for what it’s worth, I’d say relax about not being able to fire theories off your hip (most of them will be poo-poo’d in 10 years anyway)and be happy to wander through the haunted woods with questions as your guide.

    Troy (L Professor!) x

    PS. I love reading your Blog

    Comment by T Tempest — October 23, 2006 @ 8:38 am | Reply

  3. Damp straw will dry out, can be baled, arranged and make substantial buildings. In my view, the ‘damp straw’ for a brain is exactly the right place to start : in due course, you’ll find the way through.

    Don’t worry about not knowing the theories because, as Troy rightly points out, many will be critically rubbished in a few years.

    And maybe they’ll be teaching the Haunted Wood theory by then …

    Comment by Jonathan — October 23, 2006 @ 2:50 pm | Reply

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