Recently, just before flying out on a regional trip, I realised I had not met my monthly resolution of enrolling in professional development. The seminar I wanted to attend was a few days away. I jumped on the website and enrolled, printed off my ticket and left for my trip. There was no time to reflect on the seminar I was to attend. With the flight coming in later than usual, the next morning, I dressed hurriedly and got to the seminar, 15 minutes late. I had missed the ‘housekeeping’ and schedule for the program. I settled in, attentive, interested and open. Soon, a feeling of disquiet came over me. There were no name tags, no attendance register, no information when professional attendance certificate would be handed out. Odd! I fiddled with my pen incessantly to calm the feeling of having paid good money for something that did not seem to have a familiar format. The pen leaked onto my fingers and the ink found its way to my white linen top. The lady next to me giggled as I caught her eye and hissed, “when wearing white … Murphy’s law”.
A student for the day, I wanted to learn but the message was muted by the presenter’s harsh use of the ‘f’ word. The use of the word does not offend me. It has its place. But not when used liberally as adjective, adverb and noun in a formal seminar, repeatedly, even as a quote. Having arrived a few minutes late, half way through the seminar I asked the lady near me about the professional background of the presenter. She stated, she had arrived early, but the presenter had not mentioned it in the introduction. I grew more curious as the hours slipped away. Having read extensively on the topic, my feeling of disquiet grew. The seminar did not appear to come from evidence based literature but on case studies. There was a thin thread holding together a range of established practices, put together by one person’s experience, and now promoted for therapeutic practice in a highly sensitive area. The day’s program was a taster of the presenter’s practice. At the end, it was announced the full course of three days will be run at a cost of several thousand dollars. I picked up my belongings and headed home, taking the coastal route, to calm my outrage.
The first thing I did when I came home was do a google search for the presenter and the organisation. I am yet to find it. It is definitely online. I just cannot find it. Had I read the background, I would not have wasted my money and time.
This leads me to why I am writing the blog today. I have a sense of disquiet about a lot of things lately. I have asked myself, how it is possible, in this day and age of technology and information overload, people are still uninformed. Have we been reduced to just reading the headlines, ‘click bait’ I believe it’s called, aimed at the vulnerable. The louder the voice, the more flamboyant, we are led to believe, it must be true. In this instance, I was vulnerable. The headline was bold. It automatically became a priority on my monthly to do list.
On the day I had learnt nothing but a valuable lesson. It reinforced my learning journey. Over the past few years I have been steadily taking a different approach in my work. I have come to appreciate, brain functioning is complex. There is more that we don’t know, than what we do know. At the very least, this lack of knowledge should instil humility in one. Good teaching demands, we respect this. Good practice, demands this. We owe this to the people who trust us with their well being.
It is quite possible, this is applicable to politics as well.
Until next time
a dawn bird