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Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Canada the Polite

Giving another workshop today, I noticed that the Grade 6/7 class are fantastic at giving feedback. When they got bored, they just started wandering off or talking about what they saw on TV last night. Of course, at that point I sprang into action with a game of Lines of Dialogue aka Pockets, which is always a crowdpleaser, to draw them back in.

Adults (and I'm guilty of this, too) feel so compelled to be polite and support the workshop leader that one has to really pay attention to the underlying "feel" of the group. They are likely to hide their yawns and fake interest in what's going on, rather than complain or walk out of the room (which I'd prefer!) Here in Vancouver, politeness is a such a high art that it's starting to interfere rather than grease the wheels of society.

Take, for example, the four-way stop. This traffic device is like a roundabout, but everyone stops at a stop sign and takes turns to proceed through the intersection. Sounds sensible, doesn't it? But when the person whose turn it is decides to wave on another car out of turn, it all goes pear-shaped. We have a stalemate as drivers wave and bob to each other trying to coax each other to move: "After you." "No, please, it's your turn." "I insist, I'm not in a hurry." "Thank you, but it really is your turn." !!!!

Canada, we're not working as a team here! Let's follow the rules of play so that we can all get where we're going a little bit faster - and perhaps we can apply this to honest feedback, too.

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