Blog Series: Development First (1)
- Created: Friday, 24 October 2014 12:59
Development means change
So where do we start with this giant topic?
Maybe this simple definition from the Oxford dictionary is a good opening:
Development is “an event constituting a new stage in a changing situation”
If we talk about development, we need to think about change. Development is always concerned with a process of changes. In order to change something, we require an analysis of the current state and then identify a need for a change. This is easier said, than done.
Anyone who has ever tried to implement some fundamental changes knows how challenging this is. Whether you want to stop smoking, eat less sugar or start a new workout routine. Sustainable change requires a lot of discipline and motivation.
Tons of literature has been published about the “easiest” and “fastest” ways to change your life to a better cause. And I have got the feeling that resources around lifestyle-improving strategies are constantly on the rise. So technically we should all know how to “do it”? But if we all know how to do it, why is it then still so damn hard and why can’t we “just do it”.
Here is one approach to the problem: We believe that the environment and culture determines the success of change and consequently allows the process of development in each individual. This isn’t a revolutionary thought that we came up with, but a theory which is well-established and proven many times.
But let someone speak, who knows the business best: Ken Robinson, one of the finest thought-leaders in the area of education, describes human flourishing as an organic, rather than a mechanic process. And hence you cannot predict the outcome of human development…all you (the teacher) can do is to create the conditions under which they (the learner) begin to flourish. It is all about facilitate learning.
These are pleasing words we can fully identify with. Surely, establishing conditions which allow the learner to “flourish” does not happen overnight and requires often many different resources. However, one of the greatest issues of our time is to think (or hope) that we can mould (especially young) people into something that matches our conceptions.
To be honest, as much as we would love to see thousands of new highly talented rugby sevens players coming through season by season, we just can’t and shouldn’t expect that every youngster is made for 7s.
In order to enable changes and consequently encourage development we need to focus on the conditions that allow these processes, rather than on an individuals’ expectation that we can’t meet.
So, the first step towards understanding the area of development, which we will keep discovering, is to realise that humans flourish through their “diversity” not “conformity”. Another quote by Robinson sums it up perfectly “our current system is based on the conformity principal…” “…but human life thrives on diversity.”
This article is part of the biweekly blog series Development First!, which will be published every other Friday. The next article will be published on the 07th of November. If you like to submit an article for this series please contact us.