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Reading for Module 6

Module 6: Where did we get to? What did we learn? What can we share?

Constellation Tool: Review

1. Learning from the experience of Ta Wang Tan: The power of the learning cycle.

For Ta Wang Tan in northern Thailand, the Self Assessment has come to be part of an annual routine. Each year they look at their progress (or the lack of it) and decide where they are going to put their efforts during the following year. Ms. Charkaporn Pandontong shows the power of CLCP when you use it as a learning cycle.

'We did an evaluation with the parents and the children and the people were highly satisfied. It was almost 100% satisfied. And we did the workshop twice in fact. And there were still requests from families that would like to have a third one going. After we did this workshop, then in later Self Assessments, the community agreed that we were doing much better in this practice. So our score jumped in this practice in subsequent Self Assessments. So now we are looking forward to organising a similar workshop.'

The story shows that when you repeat the Self Assessment, you can get surprises and they are not always pleasant. You can find that you have slipped back in an area where you have not been concentrating for a while. Or you find that even if you have not slipped back, the situation has external situation has changed and you need to change.

Each time we visit the community of Ta Wang Tan, we are impressed with the consistency and discipline with which they apply the process, and we are even more impressed by their restless energy to improve, to learn and to share.

Ta Wang Tan
For Ta Wang Tan in northern Thailand, the Self Assessment has come to be part of an annual routine. Each year they look at their progress (or the lack of it) and decide where they are going to put their efforts during the following year.

When we did the Self Assessment 2 years ago, we found that for practices 1 and 3 (the first one about raising awareness and the third one is about linking care and prevention) our score was rather low. In the analysis we thought that this was because in the last few years we had focused so much on supporting HIV/AIDS groups and so we had not done much on this prevention part. So we realised that this was an area in which we had to improve.

So we discussed what target group we had to work on in order to promote prevention. And then we found that in fact it was the young people that were at high risk. For example, we looked at statistics and found that there were a lot of teen pregnancies. So we thought that it was important to raise awareness and provide understanding and knowledge about HIV/AIDS prevention for the young people. But at the same time in our analysis, we realised that it was too late to tackle the young people who were already sexually active. So we had to go beyond that. We have to start early before these children start to have sex. So we decided to focus on the school children in Grade 6 of primary education.

And we thought that if we just give them information about HIV/AIDS that is not enough. It has to be integrated and include other issues that pre-teens needed to know. So we talked about the news, we talked about becoming teenagers, to prepare them to have better life skills so that we can better manage our lives when we are becoming teens. And we thought it was not enough just to talk with the young people, we had to talk with the parents because it had been our approach to tackle the family as a unit. And we had always believed that if the family is closely knit, if it is a warm and loving family, then that will protect the young people of the family from these behaviours.

So we decided to do a project proposal to organise a workshop involving the parents and the children together to help to prepare the pre-teens to become quality teenagers. Because we did not have enough budget we talked with the temple and the monk provided more budget because the temple has some kind of budget earmarked for promoting morals among young people in the community. So they matched the funds and organised the workshop.

And we did an evaluation with the parents and the children and the people were highly satisfied. It was almost 100% satisfied. And we did the workshop twice in fact. And there were still requests from families that would like to have a third one going. After we did this workshop, then in later Self Assessments, the community agreed that we were doing much better in this practice. So our score jumped in this practice in subsequent Self Assessments. So now we are looking forward to organising a similar workshop.


2. Learning from the experience of The Constellation: Where did we get to? What did we learn? What can we share with others?

In the Community Life Competence process, now is the time to look back over the journey that we have made together. One reason to do this is to decide where we want to go next. The other reason is to learn from our experiences to make the next stage of the journey easier.

We have found that different groups approach this step in the process in their own way. Some go into lots of detail and some are content with much less detail. But there is one consistent messge to come from communities that do this step successfully. You must look at the review as an introduction to the next cycle in the learning process. This is not the end of anything; it is the start in the next step in the process.

Here are some of the questions that you should ask yourself:

  • Look at your dream. Ask yourself if you feel that you have moved toward your dream.
  • Look at the practices of the Self Assessment framework. Ask yourself if you are happy that these are the right practices. Ask yourself if you have made progress in the practices that you chose to concentrate on.
  • Look at your action plan and ask yourself how well you carried out your plan. What went well? What didn't go so well.
  • How can you share your experience with others so that they can learn from your experience?

3. The Learning Festival

The Learning Festival is last learning tool that we introduce in this programme. A Learning Festival is simply an opportunity for individuals and groups to come together to learn-and-share from each other.

When The Constellation started to organise Learning Festivals, the overwhelmingly positive response to them took us by surprise. People talked about them being joyful experiences. And that is still the consistent message that we receive. People enjoy learning from the experiences of others, they enjoy sharing their own experiences with others and they enjoy seeing what new possibilities can arise from these experiences.

However, a Learning Festival is more than a pleasant exchange of experiences. We use the technique of story telling to shape and to document the experiences that people bring to the event. And we use these stories to build Knowledge Assets that represent the shared wisdom of those who come to the Knowledge Fair. It may be enjoyable, but it is also hard work.

You will find more details about story telling in the file ‘triad module 6 story telling.pdf’.

You will find more details about Knowledge Assets in the file ‘triad module 6 knowledge assets.pdf’.

You will find more details about Learning Festivals in the file ‘triad module 6 learning festivals.pdf’.


4. An opportunity to organise and to run a Learning Festival

When we started to organise Learning Festivals, we thought that their natural place was after communities had finished a cycle of CLCP. We thought that the time to share was when you had learned from the experience of the process. We found that things did not turn out in the way that we planned. Some of the people who turned up had been through the cycle, some were part way through and others had not started. And it didn't seem to matter. People had experiences to share and everyone gained from the experience. There were no experts. 

That is why we now see the Knowledge Fair as a tool that we can use at any time during CLCP. Using an opportunity that arises so that people can learn-and-share is much more important that asking the stage that a group is in CLCP. 


You can download the additional reading for module 6 from the File Storage section of the programme:
‘triad module 6 story telling.pdf’
'triad module 6 knowledge assets.pdf'
'triad module 6 learning festivals.pdf'


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